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.