OLDER readers may remember that last week, I wrote about my ongoing correspondence with the recipe box ‘B’ Corp company Mindful Chef over their packaging.

The cool box I ordered contained gel packs produced by the supplier Hydropac. Mindful Chef’s website advised that it was okay to pour the gel down the sink. Hydropac, by contrast, told me their gel was non-biodegradable and needed to be incinerated.

Last Thursday, I finally received an answer from Mindful Chef.

They wrote: ‘You caught the Mindful Chef team in between suppliers and using a temporary solution – the Hyrodopac [sic] within your box was only in circulation for one week.

Information featured on the website was related to a previous supplier and hadn’t been updated in time.

As of next week all boxes will feature Mindful Chef’s new water packs, the liquid of which, as the site advises, can be disposed of down the sink.’

Happy to hear about an environmental change for the better, I dutifully ordered my box to show my support.

But did my box contain Mindful Chef’s new water packs?

Sadly not.

There were just three unbranded polymer gel packs.

Perhaps the ‘B’ in ‘B’ Corp stands for could do better?

There’s a lot of could do better around at the moment.

Not least on the forecourts of the nation’s petrol stations as we are all more than aware.

Hopefully by the time you read this, the situation will have calmed down.

But at the time of writing, finding a working petrol station is about as likely as Timo Werner hitting the back of the net for Chelsea.

And for all government ministers such as Nadine Dorries tweeting in full caps that ‘THERE IS NO FUEL SHORTAGE!’, should you need to fill your car up, YES THERE IS!

It’s a situation brought to a head by panic buying, caused by an underlying lack of HGV Drivers and one exacerbated by Brexit.

Yes, it is absolutely the case that a shortage of HGV drivers is not a peculiarly British problem.

But at the same time, for all the driver shortages in other countries, Britain is the only one where there are empty shelves in the supermarkets and queues outside the petrol stations.

The issue is systemic.

Years of low pay and poor working conditions have led to many drivers leaving and new drivers not signing up to replace them.

Rather than increasing wages to entice people in, companies often turned to cheaper foreign drivers instead.

Brexit put paid to that.

The number of European HGV drivers here dropped from 44,000 in early 2020 to 28,000 now, accentuating the underlying shortages.

Petrol, gas, CO2, empty shelves … it’s too early to talk about Winters of Discontent, but an Autumn of Aggravation? Well, that feels well underway already.