Greggs 'firefighting like crazy' over supply issues but vows festive bake won't be affected

By Graeme Whitfield

Greggs has been ‘firefighting like crazy’ as food and labour shortages hit the UK economy, its chief executive has revealed.

The company has admitted that it “has not been immune to the well-publicised pressures on staffing and supply chains” and said that it had seen “ some disruption to the availability of labour and supply of ingredients and products in recent months”.

And though it has systems in place to keep the cost of its supplies down in the short term, the company is expecting the cost of the food it buys to go up towards the end of this year and into 2022.

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That could result in price rises in shops, but chief executive Roger Whiteside said Greggs would be aiming to maintain its position as a value-led food retailer.

He said: “We’ve been firefighting like crazy because everywhere we turn there’s another problem with supply which needs an immediate workaround in place.”

Mr Whiteside said recent issues with driver shortages and lack of some ingredients for its products had shown the problems of the ‘just in time’ economy that has been disrupted by Brexit and Covid.

And he described the recent CO2 shortage - which made it difficult for abattoirs to operate to supply items like chicken and pork - as a “black swan event”: a term for unpredictable events that have potentially huge consequences.

But Mr Whiteside said Greggs was set for a good Christmas trading period, and settled any fears that its popular festive bake would be hit by supply chain issues.

He said: “The time around Christmas is still the golden quarter for retailers and we’ve got a number of Christmas specials.

“So if you can’t find a turkey, come and buy a festive bake.”

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