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Christmas dinner saved: there will ‘certainly’ be enough turkeys for December 25th

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Britons can eat turkey for Christmas dinner, despite fears over supply and shortages of workers.

The British Poultry Council said they had enough to “win us over” but warned shoppers would have less choice this year.

It said there would be ‘a bird for anyone who wants one’, but it will usually be ‘whole birds’ and ‘very simple crowns and roasts’.

Supermarkets echoed the trade association’s comments that Christmas dinners will not be ruined next month.

Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer assured customers that their food and drink needs will be met as panic buying threatened to lead to shortages.

But it comes as the boss of Britain’s largest port operator warned that the supply chain crisis could last well into 2023.

They said that because of the choice among shipping companies and ports around the world, it “will take a very long time to turn it around.”

The British Poultry Council said enough temporary workers from the European Union have been left in the UK to address the labor shortage threatening turkey numbers.

The British Poultry Council said they had enough to ‘win us over’ but warned shoppers would have less choice this year

It comes as the boss of Britain's largest port operator warned that the supply chain crisis could last well into 2023 (pictured, Port of Southampton)

It comes as the boss of Britain’s largest port operator warned that the supply chain crisis could last well into 2023 (pictured, Port of Southampton)

BPC chief Richard Griffiths told the BBC: ‘It will get us over the line. We’ve been able to streamline the products and reduce the variety, so that helps with the overall volume.”

Mr Griffiths added: ‘There will be a focus on whole birds and very simple crowns and roasts.’

About half of the visas released for foreign workers to fill the gaps at Christmas have been confiscated.

There was hope thousands would pour in to help process and pack the birds ready for the holiday.

The government relaxed immigration rules in September to allow up to 5,500 people to fly in, but the BPC believes only 2,500 have been caught.

Mr Griffiths said that as a result of fewer birds being reared and producers managing to source their own seasonal workers, Christmas will not be heavily affected.

Customers spent £6 million more on frozen turkeys last month than in the same period a year earlier, data from Kantar shows.

The BPC said there would be 'a bird for anyone who wants one' but it will usually be 'whole birds' and 'very simple crown and roast'

The BPC said there would be ‘a bird for anyone who wants one’ but it will usually be ‘whole birds’ and ‘very simple crown and roast’

Meanwhile, supermarkets said Christmas dinners will not be affected by the supply chain crisis, as some promised there will be plenty of festive supplies.

Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer assured their customers that their food and drink needs will be met as panic buying threatened to lead to shortages.

Simon Roberts, the CEO of Sainsbury’s, wrote customers a letter on the company’s site saying that the supermarket will have “enough food” for everyone.

He wrote: “Following reports that some popular products will be hard to find this Christmas, I want to let you know that we are doing everything we can to make it a memorable Christmas.

“I also want to reassure you that there will be plenty of food and that we can be sure that even if the exact product you’re looking for isn’t available, there will be a good alternative.

‘Longer shelf life products such as Christmas cookies and puddings, mince pies, nuts and cranberry sauce are already available.’

Mr Roberts added that Sainsbury’s stores will have regular deliveries until Christmas Eve and ‘expect to sell more fresh turkeys this year than ever before’.

Frozen turkeys are already in the shops, but fresh ones will arrive on 19 December.

Grocery stores said Christmas diners won't be affected by the supply chain crisis as some pledged there will be plenty of festive supplies (file photo)

Grocery stores said Christmas diners won’t be affected by the supply chain crisis as some pledged there will be plenty of festive supplies (file photo)

Fresh festive food will be available in the shops from the middle of this month and from 1 December the shelves with the promised letters will be filled with ‘fresh festive products’ such as pigs in blankets.

He also wrote: “We know how much we all missed last year spending time with our families and loved ones and that we all want to make this Christmas even more special.”

Earlier this week, Marks & Spencer CEO Steve Rowe also said the retailer is ready to “deliver a great Christmas for our customers,” the Grocer reported.

He also assured buyers that there will be “no shortage of pigs in blankets at all” at Marks & Spencer.

A spokesman for the John Lewis and Waitrose partnership also told the Express it is “confident” in its ability to “provide our customers with everything they need” for the holiday season.

Simon Roberts, the CEO of Sainsbury's, wrote customers a letter on the company's site saying the supermarket will have 'enough food' for everyone

Simon Roberts, the CEO of Sainsbury’s, wrote customers a letter on the company’s site saying the supermarket will have ‘enough food’ for everyone

The partnership between John Lewis and Waitrose is 'sure' it will be able to meet all of its customers' celebratory needs

The partnership between John Lewis and Waitrose is ‘sure’ it will be able to meet all of its customers’ celebratory needs

“We are working closely with our suppliers and are confident that we will also have a fantastic range of products,” she added.

But warning that the crisis is far from over, the boss of Britain’s largest port operator said it will likely continue until 2023.

Henrik Pedersen, chief executive of Associated British Ports (ABP), said he would be “positively surprised” if it ended earlier.

He told the Times: “If you’ve overloaded container ports around the world, it takes a very long time to turn it around.

‘We have a shortage of truck drivers in the UK, and in other countries too, so it’s’ [the problem] is in the shipping route and the road route.’

He said ABP’s ports were still full of empty containers because Asian ports refused to take them back due to their own storage problems.

Meanwhile, Primark said it expects the disruption to continue into 2023, as Ikea predicted it would be affected for months.

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