Another month, another raft of stories warning of the alleged dangers of leaving the European Union (EU). Whether they will come to fruition, or whether they are merely part of ‘project fear’, is open to debate, but the hospitality industry certainly seems to have particular reason to be cautious.
On top of concerns regarding recruitment, it was recently reported that the chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation has suggested holding a crisis meeting with the government in order to discuss potential supply chain disruption and food shortages. This comes at a time when the new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, denied that the government is stockpiling food (and medicine)… leading many to speculate that this means we are definitely stockpiling food (and medicine).
Speaking on the subject, Dominic Watkins, head of food group forlaw firm DWF, hit a sensible tone, saying: “We call for the government and the Tory party to stop arguing with itself and quickly and effectively engage with industry to present a consistent, clear, coherent and, above all, workable position that enables the UK to have access to the foods that it needs through borders that work. The information currently provided is entirely unacceptable to enable the industry to plan for the future.”
With the UK currently importing 40% of its food, and three-quarters of this amount directly from the EU, we can only echo this call for clarity. Especially when you consider that a large proportion of this is fresh fruit and vegetables, delivered as part of our just-in-time supply chain, meaning that the out of home industry would unfortunately be particularly hard hit.