A severe shortage of workers is threatening the supply of festive pigs in blankets.
The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), the British Poultry Council and Tesco have demanded urgent action from ministers to protect food supplies as workers from Europe have been driven away by a combination of Brexit and Covid-19.
Chief executive of the BMPA, Nick Allen, said: 'If our guys can't supply the market, the retailers will probably look abroad.
'You actually start planning for Christmas at this time of year, and certainly things like pigs in blankets, you start making them now.'
A severe shortage of workers is threatening the supply of festive pigs in blankets
The British Poultry Council said the industry has seen a 10per cent drop in throughput in recent weeks because of a shortage of workers. Historically, some 60per cent of poultry meat workers - 22,800 - are EU nationals.
Its chief executive, Richard Griffiths, said: 'British food producers have shown phenomenal resilience and worked incredibly hard to feed the nation amidst the biggest crisis of our lifetime. Now is the time for the Government to support British businesses to ensure that quality British food never diminishes.
'We cannot run the risk of creating a two-tier food system where we import food produced to lower standards and only the affluent can afford high quality British produce.'
Chief executive of the BMPA, Nick Allen, said: 'If our guys can't supply the market, the retailers will probably look abroad. You actually start planning for Christmas at this time of year, and certainly things like pigs in blankets, you start making them now.'
Food industry leaders are calling on the Government to change visa rules to allow in tens of thousands of European nationals to support the food industry.
This includes attracting truckers to handle deliveries.
Tesco has told ministers its suppliers are wasting nearly 50 tonnes of food a week because of the worsening HGV driver shortage, according to The Grocer.
Britain's biggest supermarket told ministers earlier this week that some 48 tonnes of food across its supply chain in the last week alone had been binned.
The Federation of Wholesale Distributors said the situation is so bad that the government should put the Army on standby to help with food deliveries.