Britain could face pie crisis because of overseas aluminium issues

Foil tins running low due to rising global aluminium prices, ongoing labour shortages and inflation have combined to create the "perfect storm" that could lead to Britain facing a pie crisis.

Aluminium prices have increased by a huge 48 per cent this year, to a 13-year global high on the back of demand for the metal that is used in everything to airplanes to every day items.

The price increase, supply chain bottlenecks due to the pandemic and inflation now means the foil tins that are vital for making pies may be harder to come by.

But Isaac Fisher, the General Manager at Pukka Pies, has insisted that they will continue to "feed the nation."

He told the Sun : "There's no doubt there are big challenges in the foil market. Demand during the pandemic, coupled with labour shortages and inflation, have created a perfect storm.

"As the People's Pie, it's our No 1 ­priority to keep feeding the nation. We've taken steps to make sure our bakery has a continued supply of foils."

The growing problem is so worrying that The British Pie Association last night encouraged independent and national pie-makers to recycle their tins after use, as opposed to throwing them away.

The foil casing is integral as it acts as barrier to protect the bottom and crust from overbaking.

Aluminium prices touched $3,000-a-tonne for the first time since 2008 in mid September.

Restrictions on output in China, the biggest producer, fuelled fears that supply will run short.

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The country's government has imposed restrictions on metal production and power usage in key smelting hubs.

China produced 3.16 million tonnes of primary aluminium in August, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That was down 3.2% from 3.263 million tonnes in July but up 0.4% year-on-year, Reuters reported.

The labour shortages Mr Fisher refers to is most likely the lack of HGV drivers that is affecting supply chain issues.

Last month, the government promised more support to help people to become HGV drivers as well as a package of measures to try and ease the risk of shortages.

The plans include up to 4,000 people being trained as new HGV drivers, using MOD examiners to help increase immediate HGV testing capacity by thousands over the next 12 weeks and nearly 1 million letters sent to drivers already with a HGV driving licence, encouraging them back into the industry.

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