Consumers urged not to panic buy dairy as HGV driver shortage affects sector


The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) urges consumers to continue buying dairy products as normal following a few reports of farmers having to discard their milk due to HGV lorry driver shortages.

The exact number of farmers having to dispose of their milk is unknown, but it is believed to be only a small number of farmers affected, said RABDF Chairman Peter Alvis.

“The HGV driver shortage is having an impact on the dairy sector, which has resulted in a small number of farmers having to dispose of their milk. It is hard to put a number on the exact number of farmers affected, but at the moment, we believe it is only affecting a few producers.

“We are monitoring the situation, and should farmers be experiencing issues, we urge them to get in touch with us.”

Mr Alvis said any loss of milk sales is devastating if the processor doesn’t pay for uncollected milk. “As many dairy farmers do not make a profit on their milk or only a minimal margin, any minor knocks are felt very quickly.

“The global supply chain hasn’t fully returned to normal following the pandemic, and the shortage of HGV drivers is now adding to this problem, which is why we are seeing such an impact.

“That said, milk and dairy products are still making it through to the supermarket shelves, so it is important consumers continue to shop normally to avoid any shortage situations seen at the start of the pandemic when panic buying occurred,” he said.

It is thought Britain has an estimated shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers due to Brexit, poor pay and the pandemic. The Government recently announced support to help recruit and train more people as HGV drivers (25 September).