There has been a great deal of talk of late on the subject of stockpiling food and drink ahead of Brexit.
The Food and Drink Federation’s chief executive Ian Wright recently told MPs that all warehouses for chilled and frozen food are ‘for all practical purposes booked out at the moment’, while the likes of Nestlé and The Ice Co have announced plans to increase their quantities of stock.
Questions are arising as to how businesses will ensure all of this stock gets to where it needs to be – especially in an industry working on a just-in-time model, and with such a finely balanced supply chain.
One thing is clear – we must not allow uncertainties and changes, stemming as a result of Brexit, to counteract all of the recent progress our industry has made in tackling food waste and increasing efficiency in supply chains.
Redistribution as a crucial mechanic
This is where redistribution comes in, as a crucial mechanic to ensure that surplus stock is dealt with in a sustainable manner so that, wherever possible, good food reaches people’s plates as intended.
As the UK’s largest redistributor of food and household products, we’ve already started conversations with supply chain partners to outline how we can help prevent waste, while also providing a financial return that maximises revenue from all surplus stock to counter increased costs.
Brexit also intensifies the war on attracting and retaining labour within the industry. In an environment with little wriggle-room on base pay rates, organisations are continually looking for innovative ways to enhance employee remuneration.
It is against this backdrop that we are starting to see a forgotten favourite re-emerge. On-site staff shops are a real and tangible way of helping employees’ income go further.
In the staff shops that Company Shop manages and supplies surplus products to, employees truly value access to cheaper, yet perfectly good, products that they would not be able to access elsewhere. This model, again, maximises the potential of redistribution.
So, while Brexit presents new challenges for our industry and requires fresh thinking for solutions, there is undoubtedly value to be gained from exploring tried and trusted contingency options as part of the planning process.