Despite warnings to the contrary over the past couple of months, it looks like we won’t run out of food in the supermarkets this Christmas after all.

Food (and turkeys in particular) may well be significantly more expensive than last Christmas, while there is also less choice, as The Grocer has reported on numerous occasions in recent weeks.

But as the Financial Times reports today, it’s increasingly apparent – despite the ongoing uncertainty over Covid restrictions – that warnings of empty shelves will be avoided.

Asda told the FT it had “increased our volumes of turkeys this year versus last and they are all British”, before adding “there are plenty of pigs in blankets”.

Grocers had also averted potential bottlenecks in distribution “by hiring additional drivers in the autumn and sending products with longer shelf lives, such as Christmas puddings and festive drinks, to stores earlier than usual”, the report added. And that helped to “clear as much delivery capacity as possible in the 10 days before Christmas for fresh produce”.

Some of this success will be down to schemes such as the government’s turkey worker visa, which (unlike other, less successful, temporary visa schemes) was hailed by Bernard Matthews owner Ranjit Singh Boparan last month as helping to meet demand and save Christmas.

Wine trains to pigs-in-blankets shortages: the battle to save Christmas from crisis

And as we reported in November, another of the food sector’s biggest challenges this year – the HGV driver crisis – also looks like it is starting to ease, with almost half the drivers who left the profession during the pandemic having now returned to the sector.

But despite these victories, lets face it: this Christmas will still be a hugely challenging time for many parts of the food sector.

Redistribution charity FareShare described the coming Christmas period as “terrifying” earlier this month, after it revealed many of the usual guarantees of surplus from retailers and suppliers had been held back because of fears over the supply crisis.

Additionally, however, there is also a growing sense of dread that it won’t be able to cope with the potential scale of the food waste mountain caused by the scrapping of festive plans that have pushed the hospitality sector to the brink.

FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell was quoted in The Guardian on Friday saying the charity had seen offers of food from the hospitality sector – including products such as turkey, seasonal produce, chocolate and coffee – increase by 5% over the past seven days.

But because the supply chain is currently so stretched, Boswell warned FareShare would struggle to take all it had been offered – representing an almost overnight switch from famine to feast that will inevitably and tragically mean lots of unwanted festive food will undoubtedly go to waste.

Add to this the continuing unpredictability over Brexit and soaring costs for food producers (with McVitie’s owner Pladis the latest in a long line of suppliers to warn of soaring costs today) and it boils down to ongoing and growing uncertainty for large parts of the food sector at its most important time of the year. Bah humbug indeed.

And the situation looks set to be further exacerbated by a crisis-struck government hamstrung by the need to tighten Covid controls in England, which also knows Tory rebels will vote down any attempt to tighten controls – a chain of events that could push beleaguered PM Boris Johnson (and many businesses, for that matter) even closer to the brink.

With an increasingly restive cabinet meeting today to discuss just that, things may be about to become even more complicated.