The availability of Diet Coke or Coke Zero is in peril after the bottling company for the brands said its supply chain has come under pressure from a “shortage of aluminium cans”.

The UK is short of more than 100,000 HGV drivers according to the Road Haulage Association, with the pandemic and Brexit both having an impact on the dire situation.

It comes as social media users have highlighted a scarcity of Diet Coke and Coke Zero products in recent weeks.

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) said that it has faced “a number of logistics challenges” recently, including pressure on HGV driver numbers, but said it has continued to deliver “extremely high service levels”.

Nik Jhangiani, chief financial officer of CCEP, told PA: “Supply chain management has become the most important aspect following the pandemic, to ensure we have continuity for customers.

“We are very happy with how we have performed in the circumstances, with service levels higher than a lot of our market competitors.

“There are still logistical challenges and issues though, as with every sector, and the shortage of aluminium cans is a key one for us now, but we are working with customers to successfully manage this.”

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Bottled drinks supplies across UK retail have also been particularly impacted by HGV driver shortages in recent weeks, with McDonald's unable to stock bottled soft drinks recently across some restaurants.

However, CCEP said it has seen a “limited” impact in this area after finding solutions to these logistics challenges.

The comments came as the company revealed that its pre-tax profits almost doubled to 520 million euros (£466.7 million) for the period to July 2.

Revenues jumped by 22.5% to 5.9 billion euros (£5.1 billion) for the period.

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The group said it was buoyed by a recovery in out-of-home sales, as restaurants reopened to customers.

CCEP chief executive Damian Gammell said: “Whilst we are reassured by the pace of recovery and are cautiously optimistic, our strong H1 performance and full-year guidance for 2021 demonstrate our confidence in the future of our business.

“We will go further together, creating greater, more sustainable value for all stakeholders.”

It comes following the news that certain Wetherspoon pubs are also experiencing "supply issues" as one put up a sign saying it couldn't serve punters the beers Carling, Coors or Bud Light.

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Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo – maker of well-known brands including Guinness, Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka – told Sky News that the company is also facing difficulties.

Mr Menezes said: "It is more challenging… particularly on logistics and shipping round the world and on procuring some of our packaging materials etc.

"However… our team is doing an extraordinary job and we are able to handle it and I expect us to be able to fulfil the global demand for our products over the next few months."

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