Business leaders' Forum

Brexit top of industry agenda

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

More than half of businesses said they were stockpiling to weather Brexit
More than half of businesses said they were stockpiling to weather Brexit
Brexit was on everyone’s mind at the Food Manufacture Business Leaders’ Forum. Taking place in London last month and sponsored by legal firm DWF, the event saw representatives from the UK’s top food and drink businesses gather to discuss the challenges facing them.

Just under 60% of delegates said their business was stockpiling goods to cope with potential Brexit-related availability issues, with one firm considering extreme contingency plans, particularly if ports became congested due to inspections.

Meanwhile, there was widespread concern about the future workforce, with 74% believing that the lack of available skilled labour would hamper their business’ profitability this year.

This situation has been exacerbated by concerns over foreign workers’ eligibility to work in the UK once it leaves the EU with no adequate long-term solution from Government.

Tightening quality control

In the wake of the tragic death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a baguette that contained sesame that wasn’t declared on pack, the industry is doing more on allergens, with 79% saying their company was tightening up on quality control and allergen labelling in response to the controversy involving Pret A Manger.

The forum also discussed the growth of meat alternatives, with 62% of delegates planning meat substitutes or vegan-friendly new products.

Meanwhile, Greencore boss Patrick Coveney warned food and drink businesses to start implementing their no-deal Brexit contingency plans in this exclusive video interview.

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1 comment

"Top UK Companies"

Posted by Bob Salmon,

Your headline contains the words "the UK's top food and drink companies". The real trouble is that the mass (80%) of UK food companies are very small. No one seems to take any notice of their opinions and needs. They cannot afford to go to big meetings and put over their views. Government departments listen to the big boys because they are the only ones speaking. One of our recent surveys of food SMEs showed that 57% would rather close than accept the new FSA proposals. Is that what we as a country want?

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