About one in six adults in the UK have not been able to buy essential foods in the last fourteen days, representing up to eight million people – new figures show.
About 17% of adults said they had not been able to buy such items because they were not available, according to recently released data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
And almost a quarter (23%) said the same for non-essential foods.
The figures, based on a weighted number of 52,375,337 adults by ONS, emerged when separate estimates indicated fuel supply crisis fell, with only a small number of areas still suffering from significant fuel shortages.
The ONS estimates were based on an analysis of responses from 3,326 adults between September 22 and October 3 as part of the Opinions and Lifestyle survey.
Of these people asked about their experiences of scarcity over the past two weeks, 57% said everything they needed had been available to buy – while one in six (15%) could not buy fuel.
Six out of 10 respondents said their dining experience had been different than usual, with 43% saying there was less variation and 14% saying they had to go to more stores to get what they needed for.
Meanwhile, one-fifth said the items they needed were not available but that they could find a replacement, with another fifth saying they could not find a replacement.
And a total of 13% of adults also reported that they waited longer for prescriptions, with 4% saying they should go to more pharmacies to find what they needed.
It came as recent figures suggested the fuel supply crisis had fallen significantly.
Sky News understands that no area of the country remains in the red fuel stock category, meaning they have levels below 20%, while only three – Eastern, London and Southeast – remain in amber floors, with supplies between 20% and 40%.
All other areas are now classified as in the green category, meaning that fuel inventories were considered average.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News, “we are right by the tail” of the situation with pressure on the fuel supply.
He said the problems had ended in “most parts of the country”.
He added that around 3,500 people had applied for temporary HGV licenses in the past week.
Manchester United and English footballer Marcus Rashford meanwhile said some of the food banks he worked with had experienced shortages.
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“They struggle to do what they love to do because there is a shortage of food, and of course it’s something we’ll have to find an answer to, and quickly also because you know people are out there and they need meals and especially in the winter, ”he told BBC Breakfast.