Current food shortages are at a “worst level” than the boss of one of the UK’s biggest retailers has ever seen.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-operative Group, said the retailer has significantly reduced its range of some products to help serve customers.

He told the Times newspaper: “The shortages are at a worse level than at any time I have seen.”

HeraldScotland: Co-op group chief executive Steve Murrells. (Co-operative group/PA)Co-op group chief executive Steve Murrells. (Co-operative group/PA)

Mr Murrells said “Brexit and issues caused by Covid” have contributed to the supply disruption and in order to fill the vacant roles, the business is retraining staff as lorry drivers.

According to road haulage bosses, there is a shortfall of around 100,000 drivers, partly caused by the exit from the UK during the pandemic of thousands of EU drivers who have not yet returned.

Industry groups have also said although training for new drivers is taking place, it’s not a quick solution as it takes months to do meaning solving the shortfall could take some time.

Labour shortages, which have also affected meat packing and fruit picking jobs, have caused shops and fast food restaurants to struggle for stock.

Subway and McDonald’s are some of the latest victims of the shortages.

Sandwich shop chain Subway said it has seen “minor supply chain shortages” but stressed that it has ensured that disruption to customers is minimal.

Which other firms are dealing with stock shortages? 

Meanwhile, McDonald’s ran out of milkshakes in most of its UK restaurants due to the ongoing supply problems.

The burger chain has also been left without bottled drinks across its 1,250 outlets in England, Scotland and Wales as a result of the lorry driver shortage.

A spokesman said the group is “working hard to return these items to the menu”.

It comes a week after restaurant chain Nando’s shut almost 50 restaurants because of reduced chicken supplies.