Turkeys, pumpkins and festive cheer set to be in short supply this winter

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It looks like a Dickensian Christmas is in prospect. Does that mean we will be eating goose or does it mean stores will be asking, “Please sir, may I have some more?”

There have been more warnings of fowl shortages ahead, with the traditional Christmas dinner of turkey under threat because of labour shortages.

A caller to the LBC radio station, who said he worked with several small independent growers, said he had not been able to supply them with labour for a while.

“We’ve depended on migrant labour now for many, many years and to switch that off with no alternative is an absolute catastrophe,” he said during a radio phone-in programme.

As well as a shortage of turkeys at Christmas, the caller predicted there would be a shortage of pumpkins at Hallowe’en.

Earlier this month, The British Poultry Council revealed it was facing a shortage of workers in the farming and food processing sectors, while the well-publicised shortage of lorry drivers continues to lead to shortages of some food items in restaurant outlets and food shops.

In Dickensian times, it was more common for goose to be the centrepiece of Christmas dinner rather than turkey and it could be that British families will have to revert to Dickensian traditions.

Meanwhile, in an echo of Dickens’s second novel, Oliver Twist, as turkey deliveries trickle in, supermarkets might find themselves asking: “Please sir, may I have some more?”

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