A mother whose little girl suffers from an eating disorder is spending hours each day searching for a specific kind of Walkers crisps amid a national shortage.
Michelle says she is is struggling to find Walkers’ oven baked sea salt-flavour crisps for her four-year-old daughter Ava.
The product has been caught up in supply chain problems due to a glitch during an IT upgrade, leading Walkers to issue an apology.
The family from Narborough, Leicestershire, rely on the crisps as a staple part of Ava’s diet, as she suffers from a number of conditions, including avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), the BBC reports.
According to her mother, Ava can only eat these crisps, toastie waffles and a specific type of baby puree and only drinks sweetened almond milk and a prescription vitamin mix.
She said: ‘When your child relies on a food, and you can’t get it, it’s really hard.’
Michelle, from Narborough, Leicestershire, and her four-year-old daughter Ava, who relies on Walkers’ baked sea salt-flavoured crisps as one of the few foods she can eat
This supermarket in London showed few suppliers of Walkers’ favourite crisp products
‘[Me and my husband] go looking round the shops for the crisps every day for an hour or two. We have a big extended family and everyone is looking out for them too.
‘There’s not a huge nutritional value in the crisps but the salt helps. It makes her drink more.’
She claims her little girl, who also suffers from a developmental condition, would rather go on a drip than eat food she does not like.
They have been struggling to get hold of the crisps for almost a month. At one point Ava apparently became lethargic and withrawn after going wirthout her favourite snack for five days.
‘[If she doesn’t have them] it makes her really sleep, she lays around and doesn’t have enough energy,’ said her mother.
‘Our big fear is having to go to hospital and if we cannot find these crisps, that’s 100% a possibility.
Ava’s mother is worried she might have to go into hospital after suffering lethargy from going five days without her staple snack
This brand of Walkers’ oven baked sea salt-flavoured crisps is one of the few foods Ava will eat, alongside toastie waffles and a specific brand of baby puree
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
ARFID is when someone avoids certain foods, limits how much they eat or does both.
Beliefs about weight or body shape are not reasons why people develop ARFID. Possible reasons for ARFID include:
> Negative feelings over the smell, taste or texture of certain foods.
> A response to a past experience with food that was upsetting, for example, choking or being sick after eating something.
> Not feeling hungry or just a lack of interest in eating.
You can find out more about ARFID on the Beat website.
‘It makes me very, very anxious. What seems like such a simple thing is huge for her.’
Ava’s mother said that many children with eating disorders often favour crisps, and she knows of families in a similar situation to her who were also struggling.
She added: ‘There is a lot of people that experience this at all ages, but there has been a lot of judgement and a lot of very, very negative comments.
‘This is a registered eating disorder and a lot of people don’t really understand learning disabilities, autism, sensory eating or ARFID so there are misconceptions about what it is.’
Walkers has stated that its supply issues are likely to continue well into December, with priority given to its more popular flagship crisps, such as salt and vinegar and cheese and onion .
A spokesperson added: ‘We’re doing everything we can to increase production and get people’s favourites back on shelves.
‘We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused.’
Earlier this month, Mail Online revealed that Walkers’ shortages had led to unscrupulous sellers flogging individual packets of salt and vinegar crisps for as much as £6 each online.
The tangy and savoury potato treats usually cost a maximum of around 90p a bag in most supermarkets.
One eBay one seller from Leicester – coincidentally Walkers’ home city – was selling them for the huge price of 6.89 online – an increase of 665 per cent.
Another photograph on a store in London showed empty shelves in areas normally packed with crisps.
Empty shelves of Walkers crisps in Iceland, north London after IT system upgrade at Walkers
Some sellers were advertising one packet of crisps for £6.89 each, dwarfing the usual 90p
A Walkers spokesman told MailOnline: ‘A recent IT system upgrade has disrupted the supply of some of our products.
‘Our sites are still making crisps and snacks but at a reduced scale.
‘We’re doing everything we can to increase production and get people’s favourites back on shelves. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused.’