Retailers in the north-east are reassuring shoppers that there is plenty stock to go around – after growing concern that some shelves are lying empty.
Reports have emerged in recent days of some supermarkets running out of items including fruit and vegetables, soft drinks, pet food and cheese.
It has been claimed many of the issues have been caused by workers in the industry having to self-isolate after being in close contact with someone with coronavirus.
That has prompted a change in the rules on self-isolation both north and south of the border.
Two leading retailers have told us they are experiencing some issues, but have reassured customers that they are working to address the problem.
In Morrison’s on King Street in Aberdeen, the fruit and veg aisle looked worse for wear with a lack of bananas, potatoes and cucumbers.
However, there was no reason to panic buy as despite some small gaps, there were plenty of necessities available to purchase.
One Aberdeen shopper said: “Just a few gaps here and there but nothing you couldn’t get an alternative for.”
Although it was a different case in Huntly, where one shopper said: “Wee rubbish bags disappeared off the shelf for several weeks. Now available, but up to £1.15 from £1.
“Fruit and veg in Tesco and Asda Huntly, especially strawberries are in short supply, except bananas, for some strange reason.”
A further Aberdeen shopper said: “It’s mainly fresh foods. Lots of empty spaces in fresh meat aisles and the fruit & veg.”
Elsewhere, one shopper at a Co-op store in Kirriemuir said: “I couldn’t believe how empty the shelves are.
“It’s like going back to the very start of the pandemic when shelves in supermarkets were at an all-time low.
“I only managed to get a handful of the things I had gone out to buy.”
An Inverness shopper said: “Our Asda is terrible in Inverness, can’t get half of what I normally get, it is not right.”
However, one Orkney resident said everything appeared “normal” in their local supermarket.
A spokesman for the Co-op said: “We are sorry that we have run low on some products.
“Like many retailers, we are impacted by some patchy disruption to our deliveries and store operations but we are working closely with our suppliers to get re-stocked quickly.”
A Tesco spokesman said: “We have plenty of food, with deliveries arriving at our stores and distribution centres across the UK every day, and overall availability remains good.
“While there is plenty of food for everyone, we are experiencing sporadic disruption from the industry-wide shortage of HGV drivers and an increase in colleagues self-isolating on a precautionary basis.”
Recruiting 3,000 extra workers
The spokesman added: “This, on top of increased demand, is leading to pockets of temporary low availability across a small number of products, but we’re actively managing this and our colleagues are working hard to get shelves back to fully stocked.”
The supermarket giant says it is recruiting up to 3,000 temporary workers at depots.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Grocery retailers have done a great job in ensuring customers have access to food and essentials throughout the pandemic.
“They are carefully monitoring the conflux of pressures being seen at the moment – in the supply chain due to the lack of HGV drivers and a rise in self-isolation affecting distribution and logistics, as well as the impact of the incredibly hot weather on demand for a few limited product lines.”
He added: “The availability of products on shop shelves remains good despite these pressures.
“The industry is adept at coping with any disruptions, and most grocery retailers have well developed contingency plans in place to ensure shoppers have good access to the food and other products they need.”
Last year some supermarkets introduced limits on key items to make sure there was enough to go around.