Nestlé says worker shortage could hit Quality Street supplies at Christmas

Quality Street shortage fears

The maker of Quality Street has said the supply chain crisis may affect deliveries of some of its confectionery in the run-up to Christmas.

Mark Schneider, the chief executive of Nestlé, said: “Like other businesses we are seeing some labour shortages and some transportation issues, but it’s our UK team’s top priority to work constructively with retailers to supply them.”

When asked whether he could guarantee Quality Street would be in the shops this Christmas, he told the BBC: “We are working hard.”

In a later statement, Nestlé – which also makes Smarties, Milkybars, Aeros, KitKats and Lion bars, said there would be plenty of Quality Street to go around this festive season.

“Like all businesses we are managing a number of challenges at the moment but we are working hard to mitigate those issues and are not seeing a material impact on supply. Our factory in Halifax manufactures up to 12m Quality Street sweets every day,” the company said.

There has been a surge in early purchasing by shoppers worried that supply chain woes will hit their plans for celebrations this December.

Tesco, Iceland and Aldi have said sales of frozen turkeys are up year-on-year, while at Waitrose 112,000 people have already booked their Christmas delivery slot, about double the number this time last year.

Food processing facilities and farms have faced labour shortages, and retailers and their suppliers say they are concerned about finding enough warehouse workers, particularly those with special skills such as forklift truck driving, to ensure deliveries arrive on time as during the busy Christmas season.

Ports have become congested as deliveries delayed by factory stoppages in east Asia and difficulties with supplies of shipping containers are snowballing, as retailers try to stock up in time for their peak selling period.