Out of stock problems are now hitting the retail corned beef trade as supply problems from Brazil escalate. “We are now six weeks behind in our shipping schedules due to labour problems in our major port, Santos,” a packer said.
UK importers admit the stock shortages can only get worse with strike action continuing across the country. And Brazil has seen demand nearly double, following health scares in other parts of the world.
Freight rates seem to move higher by the week, but even if exporters pay freight premiums, there is still no guarantee of space. “It’s chaotic, with no signs of improvement,” said one importer, who said he had cancelled several promotions.
Shelf prices are now on the increase as retailers pull back their activity to conserve corned beef stocks.