UK: £60m worth of food wasted due to lack of workers, NFU warned

More than £60 million worth of food has been wasted because there aren't enough workers to pick, pack and process crops, the NFU has warned. The union's survey shows that £22m worth of fruit and vegetables has been wasted directly because of workforce shortages in the first half of 2022 alone.

As the survey represents around a third of the UK horticulture sector, the NFU estimates the overall value of food wasted accumulates to more than £60 million.

The results demonstrate the detrimental impact workforce shortages are having on the food and farming sector, resulting in major crop losses at a time when the UK is experiencing the worst cost-of-living crisis in generations.

The survey shows that 40% of farmers are suffering crop losses as a result of labor shortages. At the same time, more than half (56%) reported a fall in production, averaging a 19% reduction.

On average, for the 2022 season so far, farmers are experiencing worker shortages of 14%, a figure which is based on recruitment and does not factor in the added effects of early leavers.

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