PEMBROKESHIRE's supermarket chains have reported issues meeting demand, after an exodus of drivers from EU countries during the pandemic.

This is coupled with the health crisis bringing DVLA testing centres to a standstill, creating a huge backlog of drivers taking their HGV test.

The Road Haulage Association has estimated there is a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, of a pre-pandemic total of about 600,000.

The shortfall has put pressure on the whole supply chain, and is starting to affect consumers, with product availability reduced in some instances.

Tesco chairman John Allan has warned that its customers could see food shortages at Christmas due to the Brexit-related supply chain disruption.

He added: “We are very short of drivers, it’s a combination of many EU drivers having decided to go home to improving economies in some countries.

“At the moment we’re running very hard just to keep on top of the existing demand, and there isn’t the capacity to build stocks that we’d like to see.

"So, in that sense, I think there may be some shortages at Christmas, but I wouldn’t want to over-dramatise the extent to which that would be the case.”

German discount supermarket chain Aldi is also assuring shoppers that it still had plenty of food and urged customers to shop as normal.

But both supermarket chains have announced a salary increase for its lorry drivers in an effort to combat the ongoing driver shortage.

Meanwhile Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-operative Group, has revealed that the company was having to reduce some product ranges.

“The shortages are at a worse level than at any time I've seen, the disruption to supply has been driven by Brexit and issues caused by Covid."

Chris Chris Kiley, company owner of CK Stores, which has 31 stores across Wales, said there has been a lot of shortages in recent months.

"There is no one product, there is no range of products, its just across the board, I think its the driver shortage that's the biggest problem," he said.

A Nisa spokesperson said: “The whole of the UK is experiencing supply issues, which have been caused by driver shortages and the ‘pingdemic’.

“Nisa and Co-op have independent supply chains, and we are focused on ensuring Nisa partners have the best possible availability in difficult circumstances.”

Andy Richardson who chairs the Welsh Government Food and Drink Board, said: "There may be some manufacturers issues, but the biggest issue is haulage.

"It is down to the lack of drivers, because EU citizens went back home, and because of problems at HGV testing centres during Covid lockdowns."

Meanwhile some smaller local shops have complained that supply to independent convenience stores has been restricted to maintain stocks in supermarkets.

One local retailer, who did not want to be named, claimed that availability in the nearby Tesco store was greater on lines they had seen restrictions placed on.

"We have had some issues getting certain types of products in, due to problems further up in the supply chain, but we are working hard to keep the shelves stocked," he said.