Shoppers 'More Pessimistic' About Brexit Than Ahead Of March Deadline: Study

By Steve Wynne-Jones
Share this article
Shoppers 'More Pessimistic' About Brexit Than Ahead Of March Deadline: Study

Following on from yesterday’s tempestuous debate in the House of Commons over the Brexit process, a study by shopper insight agency HIM has found that close to two thirds of shoppers (61%) expect food shortages if and when the UK leaves the EU.

This compares to 39% of shoppers that believed there would be food shortages in a survey carried out ahead of the original Brexit deadline, of 29 March.

Stockpiling Commences

The online survey of 1,000 shoppers, which was carried out in August, has found that some 14% of shoppers have already commenced stockpiling food products in advance of the 31 October deadline.

Two fifths of those surveyed (41%) believe that fresh produce will be affected by the Brexit process, with 28% saying they expected meat to be affected, and 23% saying they believed fish could be affected.

Close to a third (30%) of consumers plan to stockpile products ahead of the planned 31 October exit date, with tinned products (17%), frozen foods (11%) and over-the-counter medication (10%) the most popular categories, according to the study.


Not That Bad?

At the same time, 43% of respondents believe that Brexit provides an opportunity for supermarkets to stock more British products, while 42% believe that there are plenty of potential trading partners around the world to meet any shortfall that might occur.

Just under two fifths (39%) said that they believed reports about food shortages were simply trying to scare consumers.

“Shoppers are more pessimistic about the outcome of Brexit now than they were prior to the original March deadline,” commented Val Kirillovs, research and insight Director at HIM and MCA Insight.

“In every difficult situation we should look for hidden opportunities – we know that nearly half of consumers believe Brexit provides a great opportunity for retailers to champion local, British products. There is an opportunity for retailers to shout about the origin of their produce and generate optimism amongst their shopper base.”


Food Concerns

At the weekend, senior government official Michael Gove appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show to seek to alleviate fears about possible food shortages, saying that while some food prices may rise, "everyone will have the food they need".

His comments were criticised by the British Retail Consortium, who said that suggestions that fresh food supplies would be unaffected was ‘categorically untrue’.

“The retail industry has been crystal clear in its communications with Government over the past 36 months that the availability of fresh foods will be impacted as a result of checks and delays at the border,” a British Retail Consortium spokesperson said.

© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine

Get the week's top grocery retail news

The most important stories from European grocery retail direct to your inbox every Thursday

Processing your request...

Thanks! please check your email to confirm your subscription.

By signing up you are agreeing to our terms & conditions and privacy policy. You can unsubscribe at any time.