Sainsbury's CEO Warns Of "Detrimental" Impact Of Post-Brexit Food Trade
Mike Coupe, CEO of UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's, has warned that fresh food could be left rotting at the British border if strict customs controls are put in place post-Brexit, reports The Independent.
Coupe told the Press Association that any disruptions to EU supply chains would be "detrimental" for the retail sector and consumers in the UK.
“The UK sources roughly a third of its food from the European Union and food is by far and away the UK’s largest export,” he said.
“If you take our fresh produce supply chains, for example, we put things on a lorry in Spain and it will arrive in a distribution centre somewhere in England, and it won’t have gone through any border checks.
“Anything that encumbers that has two effects: it adds cost, and it also has a detrimental effect on freshness – if you’re shipping fresh produce from a long distance, even a few hours of delay can make a material impact.”
Last week the British Retail Consortium warned that the UK and EU must reach an agreement to minimise delays at ports, which would have a serious effect on perishable foods.
Coupe said that the UK government has "not fully recognised" these consequences of trade disruption, and so retailers and food produces will "make that point and make it very strongly".
The Sainsbury's boss has pledged to reduce costs and work with suppliers to mitigate inflation.
UK trade talks with the EU are set to begin next month, however last week Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said that talks still had done nowhere near enough for there to be a prospect of moving on to trade discussions after October.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.