A huge boom in home deliveries has created a nationwide cardboard shortage.
Many firms are struggling to send out goods and claim giants such as Amazon have snapped up much of the supply.
Supermarkets have also seen a rise in egg sales during lockdown, leading to a shortage of cardboard pulp for the boxes.
Chains including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and the Co-op have temporarily replaced some with plastic packaging.
And a surge in demand for wine caused by the closure of pubs and restaurants has also been hit by the cardboard shortage.
One company, Wanderlust Wine in London, had to buy unbranded boxes "to get us through".
And Joelle Nebbe-Mornod, owner of Alpine Wines, said: "It's big e-commerce retailers, probably all panic buying.
"My supplier told me they have had a lot of big guys order more than normal, so that's cascading down.
"The cardboard that used to take us two weeks to receive is taking four or five, and we are also using a back-up supplier."
A director at one cardboard supplier said: "We have heard from dozens and dozens of companies, many of whom have been left high and dry with supply prioritised to large volume users."
Manufacturers' group the Confederation of Paper Industries said demand was five years ahead of expectations.
And Simon Ellin, chief of the Recycling Association, said: "Home delivery is sucking the cardboard from the system because there is such phenomenal demand."
He labelled it the "Amazon effect".
Amazon said it was not experiencing shortages, adding: "We work with suppliers throughout the year to forecast and manage our packaging needs."
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