Shoppers struggle to find paracetamol while beer shelves overflow


Shoppers struggle to find paracetamol while beer shelves overflow and restaurants fill up again, new figures show

  • New data has show items like paracetamol, ibuprofen and fresh fish are scarce
  • On the other hand, there is plentiful supply of beer, milk and potatoes in the UK
  • ONS data also shows that levels of seated diners in restaurants are up again 










Shoppers have been struggling to get hold of paracetamol from many supermarkets while beer shelves are overflowing, new data from the Office for National Statistics has revealed.  

It shows that 24% of sites surveyed had either low or no stocks of paracetamol, while 17% reported the same for ibuprofen.

Similar high levels of unavailability were also reported for fresh fish, fresh pork, sparkling water, dried pasta and frozen fish.

However, very few places reported problems with milk, fresh fruit and vegetables or beer.

The data also shows that the number of people dining in restaurants is back to pre-pandemic levels.

The ONS data broke down whether shops reported stock of an item as ‘high’, ‘medium’, ‘low’, or ‘none’. Paracetamol and Fresh Fish are among the lowest available


Data shows that 24% of sites surveyed had either low or no stocks of paracetamol, while 17% reported the same for ibuprofen

Compared with the same week in 2020, before Covid-19 struck, the numbers of seated diners had declined by just 3% in the seven days to January 24. It comes after a 5 percentage point increase the week before.

The data is in contrast to crisis reports from December when Omicron was surging and causing restaurant closures. 

Pubs and restaurants across the UK have were forced to close amid rising Covid cases, with several reporting that they didn’t have enough staff available to continue serving food and drink over the busy festive period.

The operator of the Real Greek and Franco Manca restaurant chains called for emergency rescue packages and said 54 per cent of venues were down more than 40 per cent in revenue, with one in five businesses down more than 60 per cent. 

It led to warnings from the UKHospitality that  ‘as many as 10,000 sites’ could close.

Today’s ONS data also sheds further light on the state of the aviation industry. 

Airlines have been some of the worst-hit businesses during the pandemic as heavy restrictions were placed on people travelling abroad.

There were on average 2,400 flights landing and taking off from the UK every day in the week ending January 23.

Meanwhile, very few places reported problems with milk, fresh fruit and vegetables or beer

This is around three times as many as last year, but still around half of pre-pandemic levels, the ONS said.

Meanwhile, more pedestrians and cyclists are on London’s streets than before the pandemic.

Compared with the week before the first UK-wide lockdown in 2020, there were 15% more cyclists and pedestrians.

However car numbers have also increased, by 8%, while the number of vans is down 1%.



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