Boparan, the boss of the UK’s largest food manufacturer, has launched a rallying call for the UK to vote to remain in the EU.
‘Decimate the British food industry’
“A vote to the leave the EU has the potential to decimate the British food industry,” warned Boparan.
“It’s already a tough environment; highly labour intensive, high volume, producing very low cost products for low margins, and operating in a deflationary market.
“The additional challenges Brexit could create for my industry will put many businesses at risk and I don’t think that’s a risk worth taking.”
2 Sisters employs 23,000 at 45 sites in the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland, supplying a third of all poultry consumed in the UK, and owns brands like Fox’s Biscuits and Goodfella’s Pizza.
In an editorial published this week in our sister title, The Grocer, Boparan argued that the UK should remain in the EU because a Brexit would create too much uncertainty.
This he claimed would then lead to reduced consumer spending, higher interest rates and potentially higher cost of goods, all of which could damage the British food industry. Boparan noted that the pound had already fallen in value on exchange markets at the prospect of Brexit.
Food industry relies on EU workers
The British food industry relies on European workers, he added, in further support of EU membership. Food and drink is one of the UK’s biggest employers, he argued, and it provides jobs for 3M workers – a third from EU Member States, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Boparan went on to argue that British farmers and other food producers relied on the single market. It gave them access to 500M customers, allowing goods and services to be sold on an unrestricted basis. Leaving the EU, but remaining in the single market, would see the UK following the rules set by the EU, but with no say over them, he argued.
He added that the increased ingredients and packaging costs brought about by a Brexit would threaten the viability of food businesses.