Supply Chain

UK Heatwave Will Hit Food Supplies, Could Worsen Brexit Disruption: FDF

By Steve Wynne-Jones
Share this article
UK Heatwave Will Hit Food Supplies, Could Worsen Brexit Disruption: FDF

Britain's prolonged heatwave will impact food supplies later this year and could exacerbate any disruption caused by a hard Brexit, an industry lobby group warned on Wednesday.

With just over eight months left until Britain is due to leave the European Union, there is little clarity about how trade will flow, as Prime Minister Theresa May, who is grappling with a rebellion in her party, is still trying to strike a deal with the bloc.

Ian Wright, director general of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said that if Britain left the EU next March without a deal, disruption at customs and border crossings could impact food supplies.

Wright also said that Britain's long spell of hot, sunny weather and little rain will start to hit supplies in the autumn.

Vegetable Shortages

"We’re going through the most extraordinary summer, and we’re already seeing farmers struggling with crops, with feed for ruminants [cattle and sheep]. There are vegetable shortages because there hasn’t been enough rain," Wright told BBC Radio.


On Tuesday, Brexit minister Dominic Raab said that the British government will ensure that there are adequate food supplies in the event of a no-deal scenario. Raab did not give details, but said, "It would be wrong to describe it as the government doing the stockpiling."

About 40% of the food that Britain consumes is imported, with the vast majority of it from or via the EU.

Ian Wright said that businesses were increasingly preparing for a no-deal Brexit, and it would be prudent to stockpile.

"Those businesses importing food, ingredients and finished goods will need to get their goods across the border before March 29, to ensure they don’t suffer disruption from customs changes," he said.


Currency Impact

They would also want to forward-buy, so they are not subject to currency fluctuations, Wright said.

He also said that a hard Brexit would mean some food shortages.

"We saw just a few weeks ago, with the carbon dioxide shortage, how a random shock event can effect supply, and we would see that again," he said. "So, our shoppers would not see no food, but they would see shortages."

Earlier this month, the British Retail Consortium warned that a no-deal Brexit would clog up food supplies, raise prices, and throw retailers out of business.


News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: 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.