With less than three weeks until the Brexit transition period ends, retailers have been advised to stock up on non-perishable items and look at alternative supply routes, according to The Sunday Times.
Commenting on the likelihood of stockpiling before the end of the transition period, a Food and Drink Federation (FDF) spokesman said: “In our most recent business confidence survey, nearly half of FDF members surveyed reported an increase in stockpiling as one of the key impacts on their business in Q3 of 2020. Our members are stockpiling both finished goods and ingredients.”
The news comes as the UK Government announced its intention to continue trade negotiations with the EU.
British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson warned that without a deal the UK could face over £3bn in food tariffs, with those costs likely passed on to consumers.
She confirmed that many of the BRC’s members were increasing stock of tinned foods and longer life products, but warned that no amount of preparation could entirely prevent disruption.
“Both sides must double down and do what is necessary to agree a zero-tariff agreement, or else it will be the public that pay the price of this failure,” Dickinson added.
‘Ill afford price rises’
“With many people’s finances already strained by the economic impact of coronavirus, households can ill-afford a significant rise in food prices. For the sake of customers and businesses around the UK, we need a deal in the next three weeks.”
Dave Howorth, executive director at supply chain consultancy Scala, warned that the volatility in supply and demand that characterised 2020 showed no signs of abating, driven by the continued uncertainty of COVID-19 and our messy divorce from the EU.
Meanwhile, the EU’s recognition of the UK’s organic control bodies has brought welcome relief for producers, but experts have warned uncertainties remain for the future of trade with the single market post 2021.