• Quote: ‘I think inevitably it will lead to some form of inflation because this driver issue is affecting the whole supply chain’ – Iceland MD Richard Walker

By Andrew Atkinson

Frozen food giant Iceland chief Richard Walker has warned prices in its stores are set to rise.

“Price rises are inevitable – due to current HGV shortages,” said Iceland Managing Director Walker.

Companies are increasing wages of lorry drivers to entice more workers back on the road and the Iceland chief said a combination of factors could lead to price inflation, with consumers paying more for goods on shelves.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: “I think inevitably it will lead to some form of inflation because this driver issue is affecting the whole supply chain.”

The news comes following vacancies of thousands of lorry drivers were announced in the UK.

Iceland has a supermarket in Torrevieja frequented by expats: “It’s not just affecting our part of it, which is from the depots to the shops.

“It’s also affecting the suppliers into the depots or the produce from the fields into the supplier,” said Walker.

He also hinted how ongoing delivery issues could effectively ‘cancel’ Christmas this year.

Supermarkets including Tesco and Asda have also started introducing a £1,000 starting bonus for new recruits, while M&S is advertising a £2,000 incentive according to Media reports.

Lorrydriver salaries have been advertised up to £53,000 in the shortage crisis.

Companies are also struggling to meet demand, due to the lack of workers, with McDonald’s, Wetherspoon and Nando’s – all hit by shortages.

About 14,000 European lorry drivers left the UK in 2020 amid Brexit – with a meagre 600 having returned, statistics suggest.

A large backlog in HGV driver tests is also hindering recruits because of the coronovirus pandemic.

Amid all the supermarkets increase in food prices the UK has a brand new cheapest supermarket – not Aldi or ASDA – Lidl having been named the UK’s cheapest, nudging Aldi from top spot.

The German discounter was the best-value grocer in August, coming up top against all of the Big Four supermarkets, along with rival Aldi.