Brexit: Should food inflation become a priority?
Now that Article 50 has been triggered and Brexit negotiations are underway, food inflation must be tackled urgently, according to the latest report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The report said it's essential the government negotiates a tariff-free trade deal to avoid increases in food prices. This is something that is critical, argues the BRC, because retailers directly import £5 billion worth of food products and indirectly import £15 billion worth through wholesalers and manufacturers.
Beverages, fruit, vegetables, meat and fish have been highlighted in the report as the UK’s biggest imports from the EU. Because of this, calls for food inflation to be tackled urgently have also been backed by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
As reported by the Morning Advertiser, it is predicted that without the continuation of tariff-free trade, additional costs could be as great as 46 per cent for cheese and 21 per cent for tomatoes.
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, commented: “Ensuring the journey ahead is positive for both retailers and consumers requires an orderly and sequenced Brexit process. The first step is to mitigate the risks by securing the continuation of tariff-free trade with the EU, to avoid further upward pressure on food prices.”
Earlier this year, Steve Stenning, MCA executive director said that food-led pubs were in the best position to weather the storm of Brexit-induced price increases and reduced consumer confidence caused by political instability.
He also said that pubs and restaurants had continued to hold consumer confidence and would see growth in the year ahead.
In February, Beacon also said that food companies issued a record of price rise notifications, claiming that the UK’s decision to exit the EU was a major contribution to this. From September to January, it reported a 267 per cent growth in price rise notifications compared with the previous year.