Global Christmas tree shortage could hit UK amid supply chain problems

Global Christmas tree shortage could hit UK amid supply chain problems
Follows reports shoppers have begun stocking up early on other festive favourites

Britain may be set to face a Christmas tree shortage as a result of a global supply chain bottleneck seeing prices soar, prompting fears of panic buying ahead of the festive season.

Warnings that tree prices are rising as a result of labour shortages, shipping delays and poor weather conditions leading to diminished stock may leave those hoping to get their hands on a real Christmas tree this year disappointed.

According to a newspaper report, some garden centres have seen tree sales rise 250 per cent for this time of year compared to 2020.

According to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA), some members have raised the prices of trees to account for the increased trade price – up 20 per cent this year.

A spokesperson for the BCTGA told The Independent they would advise shoppers not to “panic” amid worries they may be disappointed should Christmas tree stocks be low.

They said: “Don’t panic! Buy as you normally would at the end of this month or beginning of December to make sure it’s in the best condition.

“We have been working hard to reassure the public to hopefully avoid any panic buying.

“Christmas tree prices vary according to where you live in the UK, many kept their prices the same over several years although some members have put their prices up to reflect the additional costs,” they added.

“Like all sectors this season is a challenge but our industry is a little different because we have such a short sales window, so we take months to plan and each year we adapt to the situation.

“This year many of our growers have supplemented seasonal workforce with agency staff and booked HGV’s earlier to ensure the public can buy their real trees once they’ve been harvested.”

It comes after reports shoppers have begun stocking up early on other Christmas favourites including mince pies and children’s toys, as industry leaders warned of rising prices and shortages of stock.

Close to 5 million households bought mince pies in October, while 1.6 million bought Christmas puddings – 400,000 more than in the same month last year – according to data company Kantar.

Food industry leaders even advised households to buy some items early and freeze them if possible to avoid disappointment.

Tom Southall, policy director at the Cold Chain Federation, said a lack of workers in warehouses was a particular concern.

“We are having reports from members that warehousing is becoming quite an acute issue in the run-up to Christmas,” he told the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Businesses have struggled to keep up with rising demand after the number of non-UK workers dropped sharply following Brexit.