Oh Brex-it

Professor David Hughes speaking at last year's Red Meat Sector Conference. Photo BLNZ.

Professor David Hughes and Miguel Flavián’s latest Supermarket in Your Pocket blog post covers the weighty topic of the Brexit and its impact on the grocery sector.

They do note that ‘Frankly, nothing much is going to change in a hurry …’  but suggest giving consideration to a range of factors including:

  • Foreign exchange rates – the weaker pound will make foods more expensive for consumers, but British exporters ‘may give two cheers’
  • The EU has a range of relationships with third countries that may suit or could be modified to suit us and them. The UK runs a £15 billion deficit with the EU on grocery trade and, so, is an important trade partner for the its European neighbours
  • Negotiating trade deals will be a long and tortuous process and VERY taxing for the UK’s public servants who are “a little out of practice in such dark arts”;
  • The UK is low-60s percent self-sufficient in food. “In an era where buying local/national has become de rigueur, there’s plenty of upside in our home market but, then, our home market is only 65 million rather than the 510 million in the EU.
  • Hughes and Flavian have been surprised at the Brexit support given by farmers – “taking close to half the total EU budget, direct financial support to farmers comprises a significant portion of total farm income of, in particular, smaller-scale producers. For them, may the UK national government be as munificent!”

The duo are picking that the future lies somewhere in between ‘rosy and bleak’.

“Anyway, take some deep breaths and get stuck in for the long haul,” they say. “Our bet is that the UK food and drinks industry will be stronger and more resilient by decade end than it is now,” they say.

Read Oh Brexit in full … 

The Supermarkets in Your Pocket blog is a ‘quick and witty review of grocery world developments, with a special focus on the UK’, according to its co-authors Professor David Hughes, emeritus professor of food marketing for Imperial College London, and Spaniard Miguel Flavián. The latter works for several Spanish companies and organisations to help them learn from the developments of the British grocery market.

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