BREXIT: Can we prepare for the unpreparable?

BREXIT: Can we prepare for the unpreparable?

It feels as if you can’t walk 10 feet these days without hearing “Brexit”, “No-Deal”, or “People’s Mandate”.  With every passing day it seems less certain how we will leave the EU. With the publication of Operation Yellowhammer, the government’s “No-Deal” plan, it has become apparent that the worst-case “No-Deal” is a much scarier prospect than it has been downplayed to be.

Yellowhammer makes a few predictions about food availability in a post no deal world:

The supply of certain types of fresh food will decrease

Key ingredients in the food chain may be in short supply

Delays of up to two days at ports could reduce the shelf life of fresh produce

The result of the shortages will likely lead to price increases and we could see disruptions to supply chains lasting as long as six months.


A lot of the initial ideas are not actually feasible. Stockpiling? Not normally a good idea, it skews supply and demand in the long run, costing everyone more but in the short-term, who has space for six months’ worth of ingredients? Even then there will be goods which do not have anywhere near this amount of shelf life so stock piling isn’t even an option. 

Contracting? As I wrote in March’s edition, contracts post Brexit day will not protect you from tariffs. Most contracts from large suppliers will have Brexit clauses allowing them to pass along the increase due to tariffs.   

One possible solution is to try and sure up supply chains. Rather than just stocking up, if the entire supply chain can know what you expect to buy, provisions can be put in place, to some level. The easiest way to ensure this is to pick key lines, where stock shortages or price increases could be of real detriment. Then, between yourselves, Walker Humphrey and our suppliers we can see what can be done to ensure a consistent supply. 

As always, we are happy to help with any concerns you may have so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Dan Watson, Purchasing Manager

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