By Guy Faulconbridge, Andrew MacAskill, Daniel Leussink and Leika Kihara
LONDON/TOKYO (Reuters) – From beef bowls in Tokyo to fried chicken in London, consumers are starting to feel the pinch from the surge in costs coursing through the global economy.
The rebound as coronavirus restrictions are eased has exposed supply chain shortages, with firms scrambling for workers, ships and even fuel to power factories, threatening the fledgling economic recovery.
Britain’s biggest chicken producer said that the country’s 20-year cheap food binge is ending and food price inflation could hit double digits.
“The days when you could feed a family of four with a 3 pound ($4) chicken are coming to an end,” Ranjit Singh Boparan, owner of the 2 Sisters Group, said.
Shortages of warehouse workers, truckers and butchers as the world’s fifth-largest economy deals with Brexit as well as COVID is exacerbating strains being felt globally by international business.
IKEA is leasing more ships, buying containers and re-routing goods as the world’s largest furniture brand seeks to mitigate a “perfect storm” of disruptions.
Jon Abrahamsson, chief executive at Inter IKEA, told Reuters IKEA warns supply chain disruptions likely to last into 2022 he expects the crisis to extend into 2022, with the biggest challenge getting goods out of China, where around a quarter of IKEA products are made.
IKEA said stores in North America have been hardest hit by product shortages, followed by Europe.
In the United States, President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged the private sector to help ease blockages that are threatening to disrupt the U.S. holiday season.
Biden said the Port of Los Angeles would join the Port of Long Beach in working round-the-clock to unload about 500,000 containers, while Walmart, Target and other big retailers would expand overnight operations to help out.
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