Brexit will have a profound effect on the food industry, however, with few firm plans in place to protect hospitality and food manufacturing industries according to a study. The STS Food Safety Panel, featuring industry experts from major UK brands, has published a new white paper Brexit: A Challenge or Opportunity for the UK Food Industry?
The impact of Brexit is very much an unknown for businesses, and as the March 2019 leaving date fast approaches, the food industry has been left wondering how it will be affected. Prime Minister Theresa May recently told the BBC that the UK has two options: it either accepts the Chequers deal or settles for a no-deal Brexit.
In either situation, several key questions remain unanswered. Will UK food manufacturers no longer have to follow EU food legislation? Will the talent pool diminish as workers find it harder to enter the UK?
The white paper includes insights from food safety experts from key areas of the industry including Wagamama, Ikea, Pret-A-Manger, the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health, SSP food travel experts and Allergen Accreditation. It identifies some of the main difficulties facing the sector, while offering valuable guidance on how to embrace change. It also highlights that it’s up to individual businesses to make sure that they are prepared for whatever the future may hold.
“Discussions over legislation and policy positions are ongoing; with nine months until the official withdrawal date, the food industry – like many others – is still unsure of what lies in store,” comments Fiona Sinclair, Director of STS “There is real potential for the direction of food businesses in the UK to be completely altered, so Brexit isn’t something to be taken lightly.”
The white paper argues that preparation is the key to a successful transition, and identifies four main challenges facing the sector:
- The free movement of food
- Legislative alignment
- Free movement of workers
- Food costs and shrinkflation
The STS Food Safety Panel also believes there are four areas of opportunity:
- Product development and reformulation
- Supply lines
- Recruitment of new talent
The panel consists of food safety experts from across the hospitality industry including:
- Allergen Accreditation: The body responsible for accrediting the new EU allergy law. www.allergenaccreditation.co.uk
- Cascade Associates: Food consultants. www.cascadeassociates.co.uk
- Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH): the membership and awarding body for the environmental health sector. www.cieh.org
- Ikea: international retailer. www.ikea.com/gb-en/
- Pret A Manger: international food chain. www.pret.co.uk/en-gb
- Wagamama: international food chain. www.wagamama.com
- ISS: international facilities company. www.uk.issworld.com
- SSP Ltd: the food travel experts for air and rail catering. www.foodtravelexperts.com/international/
“From staffing concerns to food costs, regulation to supply chains, the impact of Brexit on our industry will be considerable,” explains Fiona Sinclair. “We might not have all the answers when it comes to how best to cope with Brexit, but this white paper will give hospitality and food manufacturing industries some ideas to take away.”
Download a free copy of Brexit: A Challenge or Opportunity for the UK Food Industry? here.