As the UK approaches a post-Brexit society, many industries face major changes but there’s one area of concern in particular exercising many minds – our food. Arguably, the food industry has already felt the consequences of the Brexit vote, which makes us question what the full impact will be after the 29th of March 2019 when we really do leave the EU.
The full extent of Brexit is still unknown as the final outcome of negotiations are yet to materialise – though many are apprehensive about the UK’s food future. In this article, we will look at the expected changes though all the points we’ll list have a recurring theme: it could all stay the same, go terribly wrong or right.
Our food bill – will EU foods become a luxury?
According to The House of Lords’ EU Energy and Environment Sub-committee, 30% of the food we consume comes from the EU and if we want to consume those products in a post-Brexit UK – we may face higher fees.
Although the UK plans to negotiate for trade agreements without tariffs on food imports, no such plans have surfaced nor are they guaranteed to produce a favourable outcome. In fact, the best-case scenario for the UK would still see an increase on prices as all food would have some customs charges applied.
With the current state of every bill imaginable rising, the last thing many in society seem to want is to add food to the ever-growing list of prices rising above general inflation.
Many households in the UK are either on the verge of poverty or are already in it. The increase of food prices on EU imported food could mean some brands will become a rare luxury – such as the beloved Italian brand ‘Nutella’.
Chocolate – will it stay the same, improve or reduce in taste?
It’s not guaranteed that the nation will hate post-Brexit chocolate but it seems likely. Cocoa is the ingredient in chocolate that makes it so deliciously irresistible and the UKs’ cocoa content is at 30% – a stark contrast to Americas’ 10%.
However, the regulation that chocolate must have 30% cocoa content doesn’t come from the UK but from the EU. By leaving them manufacturers may choose to disregard the previous rules on cocoa content.
Cadbury’s is a British brand – with an American owner. Many have speculated that, in a post-Brexit UK, our beloved chocolate brand will adapt the recipe to suit the taste of American consumers. What’s more concerning is that these worrying predictions aren’t necessarily plucked from thin air by Remainers - in fact they are supported with other evidence that points towards this future.
This is because the US’s Cadbury’s recipe differs from ours. EU law states that up to 5% vegetable fats must be added to chocolate so whilst the Cadburys sold in the UK include this in their recipe, the USA version doesn’t.
You should note that these are merely predictions so don’t start stocking up on your favourite chocolate just yet. We may see no changes if Cadbury’s and other chocolate brands alike recognise the public outcry that awaits if they alter their recipes.
Although these predictions are bleak, we may actually see an improvement in our chocolate. Once we leave the EU’s 30% cocoa law we could increase the amount of cocoa chocolate brands use – and increase its level of tastiness.
British farming will never be the same – or will it?
Our farms have been subject to European policies for decades now but this is all about to change. Once we are no longer restricted by EU law, we can propose a new deal for British farmers that makes their job more profitable, rewarding and resilient.
Hopefully such a deal will pass that makes farming more progressive and competitive to ensure that our famers can meet the needs of our growing society. There are speculations regarding the new deal farmers could receive and officials may decide to keep the former EU rule altogether - though this seems unlikely as some incentives for Brexit were to create laws that better suited our society.
So, although there is a new opportunity to support our farmers – if officials decide to do so is still uncertain.
If you would like to contact us regarding Brexit’s impact on food production, are looking for your dream job or for your ideal candidate, you should contact b3 jobs. We have been recruiting for the food manufacturing industry since 2000 and would love to help you.
Contact b3 jobs on 01435 866000.