As a hard Brexit becomes more likely, British supermarkets are accumulating additional stock. After all, there is a threat of serious shortages, partly due to hoarding shoppers.
Vegetable shortage in particular
Yesterday evening another deadline in the negotiations between the UK and the EU to reach a trade agreement has passed. Once again, no agreement has been reached, increasing the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit.
According to Belgian newspaper De Tijd, the British Government has advised supermarkets to build up stocks and prepare for a hard Brexit. If no agreement is reached with the EU, food producers believe there is a risk of vegetable shortages that could last for three months. The supply of fruit does not seem to be a problem, as it mainly comes from outside the EU. Nor would the supply of meat be immediately affected.
Shortages could also be caused by hoarding shoppers. During the lockdown in spring, European consumers massively bought dry food and toilet paper, although there was no actual reason to do so. After all, there were no shortages at all, but the phenomenon did lead to empty shelves in the shops. The government fears this scenario would repeat itself due to Brexit, but on a much larger scale than during the coronavirus crisis.
The United Kingdom is also an important export market for some Belgian (vegetable) companies such as Greenyard and Ardo. Lotus Bakeries, for example, exports its Biscoff biscuits across the Channel and produces its Nakd fruit bars there.