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The Food and Drink Federation Brexit Battle: Will it Affect You?


The Food and Drink Federation Brexit strategy is all about educating those within the sector. Discover what you can expect from Brexit in the food and beverage industry, and how it may affect you, right here...

The UK food and drink sector could face major disruptions in the next month. With Brexit news changing each and every day, it’s important to stay in-the-know.

The Leisure F&B Expo is all about keeping you informed about the latest food and drink news and trends. With your FREE tickets to the show, you can find out what modern customers want when it comes to refreshments, and how you can keep up despite the challenges to come.

Here, we’re supporting the FDF in their efforts to educate the food and drink industry the best they can about what’s to come (see more from them, here). For the Brexit latest about how it could affect your business, read on for more...

This sign indicates Brexit love, making us think that, either way, the result will be something we can work through

Trade Disruption

Right now, the free trade agreement means that trade flow is fast, convenient, and cheap. That said, Brexit will affect supply chains between the UK and Europe.

Trade is one of the most important aspects of the food and beverage industry, as trading with the EU for cheaper ingredients is a common practice. On average, around 50 percent of food imports to the UK come from Europe, so a no-deal Brexit would make trade for ingredients, manufacturing equipment, catering, retail, and hospitality difficult.

The Leisure F&B Expo will be the ultimate hub, where you can network with like-minded individuals who are experiencing the same uncertainties. Don’t miss out on the chance to hear from the experts about how they will be tackling potential problems. Let’s go into a little more detail...

Outbound From the UK

UK farming relies heavily on exporting to the EU; around 60 percent - that’s £20 billion worth - of our food ingredients travel to Europe each year. Without being part of the EU, the UK will have to abide by World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules for exporting, including additional tariffs.

What’s more, Brexit will lead to more rigorous border control checks, which could increase costs and time spent trading, thus decreasing shelf-life on items. Checks which would have previously taken minutes will now take a matter of hours.

That said, by putting all countries on a level playing field, this offers new opportunities for the UK to trade across the world, without restriction. This could be an exciting time for food and drink industry in the UK, exposing us to even more ideas and influences from produce across the planet.

Inbound to the UK

Right now, food imported from the EU has absolutely no additional costs attached to it. That said, without being a member of the EU, the UK will now have to pay tariffs to import ingredients into the country for their businesses. A lot of these products aren’t, and can’t be, produced within the UK, meaning we’ll have to rely on these more expensive imports.

Rising costs could also come not just from tariffs, but from the fall of the value of the pound against the euro. This would make the 79 percent of food imports higher in cost than previously.

The Leisure F&B Expo will be shining a light on new food and drink trends, which will help you change up your offerings to suit the consumer market. This way, you can discover the ways to tackle these potential Brexit concerns, boosting customers and profits along the way!

A collection of multi-coloured freight containers grouped together on a dock

Loss of EU Workers

40 percent of migrant labour falls within the food and drink industry, accounting for around one-third of the industry’s workforce. That said, uncertainty about immigrant status within the UK has already led to many EU immigrants leaving the country. Understandably, they are choosing stability over remaining here, meaning that there were around 5 percent less EU workers living in the UK between 2017 and 2018, alone.

That said, this offers more opportunities for the UK to invite in more workers from Commonwealth countries, such as areas in India, Africa, as well as Australia. Therefore, the UK will be opened up to even greater diversity than ever before!

Changes in Legislation

Right now, food legislations within the EU are all uniform, so all food and drink products can be sold over the channel with ease. That said, after Brexit, companies who want to sell food to both the UK and EU markets could have to change their methods by either:

  • Producing two sets of the same product, including packaging and ingredients, to comply with changes in regulation across the Channel;

  • Or, choosing to bypass providing for the UK, and exclusively sell to European countries instead, thus reaching a wider market.

This offers the UK multiple options in terms of trade, and therefore greater flexibility in their food and drink offerings!

Benefits of Brexit on the Food and Drink Industry

There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to Brexit in the food and drink industry. We’ve tried to clear a lot of the potential obstacles up for you before 31st October, 2019, but we also can’t ignore the positives that may come from Brexit within this sector. These include:

  • More business for UK fisheries, due to the prohibition of foreign vessels on UK waters without UK permission.

  • Freedom to negotiate trade deals with other countries.

  • Less reliance on EU food imports and exports, so we could trade with more lucrative businesses.

  • We can implement our own moral, cultural, and environmental regulations on our food and drink, that suits us, without being hampered by the EU.

This wooden table covered in food and drink represents the abundance of food and drink that is imported to the UK from other countries

Supporting the Food and Drink Federation Brexit Battle

The Leisure F&B Expo, on 6th & 7th November at the NEC, Birmingham, is dedicated to helping your company cater for their customers through food and drink. By keeping you informed with how Brexit could plan out, we can help you to gear up.

By getting your FREE ticket to the show, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who will all be dealing with the same obstacles to business. By learning about the possibilities ahead, you can make choices based on an informed decision. Join together, through networking and an exchange of information, to forge solutions that’ll benefit your company’s future.

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