Gaining key worker status for drivers supplying and distributing flour mills will be important to meeting increased demand for flour driven by ‘panic buying’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
Alex Waugh, National Association of British and Irish Millers (nabim) director general says: “The worry would be if there was a reduction in capacity of drivers and vehicles. If drivers became ill, had to self-isolate or didn’t get the childcare they need, it could affect the wheat in, flour out side of things.
“There are proposals to relax drivers’ hours and site opening times which seem like useful things to boost capacity while the disease is reducing it. Even if we produce as much flour as required if we can’t deliver it, it is of no real value.
“We need drivers and mill production staff to be in the key worker category. It is still not clear [from the Government]. I’m hopeful as we need to be able to produce food for people. We have argued the case.
“We want to be able to continue to meet demand but if stock piling carries on as it is there may need to be a little bit of rationing. If people are buying 3-4 times their normal amount the answer will increasingly be we can’t do that but can supply a little more than we otherwise would.”
According to AHDB delivered cereals and oilseeds figures, milling wheat for March delivery had increased by £9.50 - £10/t on the week depending on area.