// Sainsbury’s former CEO Justin King warns grocers of likely shortages due to coronavirus outbreak
// King said many fresh food production systems are dependent on labour on a day-to-day basis
M&S’s non-executive director Justin King has reportedly called on grocers to prepare for likely shortages in their supply chain, provided that the coronavirus outbreak escalates.
King, the former chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said sudden and large-scale reductions in staff would be far more challenging that the onslaught of panic-buying, Sky News reported.
He said many fresh food production systems are dependent on labour on a day-to-day basis.
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King’s warning comes after the government launched contingency “feed the nation” plans last week to alleviate the increased stockpiling brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.
Under these plans, grocers would work with suppliers to scale back the variety of foods and groceries available.
He added that the food supply chains are already well set up to handle staff absences while they are self-isolating.
Moreover, on Tuesday, Iceland managing director Richard Walker said shoppers are turning to frozen food as the coronavirus outbreak spreads.
Walker said that there was no need for shoppers to panic buy, with the frozen food grocer reporting “no supply issues” despite the outbreak.