Great Britain

Fact check: is there a pigs in blankets shortage?

Britain’s biggest pub chain has been forced to dish out pigs in blankets minus the blankets this festive season owing to a meat supply shortage.

The menu problems at JD Wetherspoon follow a warning in October from the British Meat Processors Association (BMA) that pigs in blankets and other Christmas foods could be in short supply this year owing to a lack of seasonal workers.

BMA chief executive Nick Allen told the BBC that the fiddly business of wrapping cocktail sausages in bacon had to be done by hand, but that “we’re short of labour”. “Ever since Brexit happened, it’s become hard to hold on to European labour,” he added.

According to The Guardian, most meat processing plants have labour shortages “equivalent to up to 15% of their required workforces”, as the fall in the value of the pound since the 2016 referendum combined with uncertainty about residential status take their toll.

Wetherspoons’ pigs-in-blankets side dish and the chain’s pigs-in-blankets children’s meal have been affected by the shortage. Other meals - including the seasonal buttermilk chicken and stuffing burgers - have also been served with sausages sans bacon.

However, Wetherspoon spokesperson Eddie Gershon told the BBC that the problem has now been resolved.

“There was a blip in supply, but that has been sorted and we now have a full supply of pigs in blankets,” he said. 

The pub chain announced earlier this month that it would create 10,000 new jobs in the UK and Republic of Ireland over the next four years.

Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin plans to invest £200m in new pubs and hotels, as well as enlarging existing ones.