Business Leaders' Forum

Coveney: ‘take no-deal Brexit action now’

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

With the threat of the UK crashing out of the EU, Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney has urged food and drink manufacturers to act on no-deal Brexit scenario contingency plans.

In the first part of this exclusive video interview – filmed at the Food Manufacture​ Business Leaders’ Forum, sponsored by law firm DWF​ – Coveney called on politicians to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU at the end of March.

“I think that ​[a Brexit deal] is likely and I’m encouraged by the sentiment and engagement within the House of Commons around the need to avoid​ [a no-deal Brexit],” said Coveney.

“I think businesses increasingly across multiple sectors are speaking as one around the imperative to avoid​ [a no-deal], regardless of what the long-term trading relationship between Britain and the EU ends up being.”

Not protected from no-deal

However, he warned that the support of a Brexit deal in parliament did not necessarily mean the UK was protected from crashing out of the EU.

“I don’t think we can take it for granted that’s going to be successful,”​ said Coveney. “There is certainly a possibility that Britain will come out of the EU without a deal at the end of March.

“As food companies, we need to prepare and take action now – including making some decisions that incur cost either directly or indirectly with our customers – in order to give us the best possible chance to be able to stay in supply with a range that works for UK shoppers.”

Meanwhile, look out for the second part of this exclusive interview, as well as more coverage from this year’s Business Leaders’ Forum in next month’s issue of Food Manufacture​​ magazine and online.

Music: Tech Live Kevin MacLeod (, Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License,

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1 comment

No Deal

Posted by Collette,

The retailers actually have had since 24th June 2016 ages to prepare for no deal, I find it ridiculous they are all panicking when this was known since the day the result was announced of the EU referendum. Retailers still are selling lots of packaging waste and need to change suppliers in advance so chains are less disrupted. This time of year there's more non EU fruit and veg anyway and less traffic as it's cold months less tourism. Leaving the EU in summer would be worse. There's bonuses as local products would be in more demand the rich can still afford everything, there's still reduced to clear on shop shelves anyway and food waste from people not eating what they buy not planning meals, not taking lessons how to cook, shops themselves over stocking not being careful with ranges and that. I think Tesco should've cut back the counters ages ago the amount they reduce each day is shocking from the counters it's not from the shelves, often I see sushi, meats like Turkey,rarer fish and blue cheese reduced those kinds of things need cutting back the deli food could be packaged and sold on the shelves or online to people who aren't coming to the stores. There's need for simplification which Aldi and Lidl do well. Shops only need 3 ranges one for basic one for diet and one for allergies even have the diet one as allergies too then it saves the waste. Have 2-3 sizes and that's all. End the snobby "Finest" it's fattening and always reduced. Asda has everyday extra special reduced they should cut back on that and make more healthier products and stop copying M&S. Why do shops want to wipe one another out? Brexit should be an opportunity to make everyone healthy , cut back on wasted fresh food lots are thrown out and damaged and change the practices.Restaurants like McDonald's keep putting lettuce in burgers people don't eat.So they could change their burgers on a Brexit so less lettuce is wasted it's ridiculous! People are so complacent it's shocking!

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