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Panic Buying And Shortages Of Chocolate, Cake: A No Deal Brexit Could Be Worse Than March

A no-deal Brexit could cause panic buying in the U.K.

Barcroft Media via Getty Images

With still no Brexit deal agreed, the implications of the U.K. leaving the EU at the new year without a trade agreement in place are numerous—EU regulations currently cut through all walks of U.K. life, from aviation to imports.

But it’s maybe the problems getting items quickly across border control that would pose an immediate headache for companies if a no deal Brexit occurs. And a large part of arrivals into the U.K. are food products.

The U.K. imports 40% of its food and 30% of that comes from Europe (up from 25% two decades ago). Government documents leaked to Sky News suggest that the first two weeks could be the most problematic.

In mid October, John Allan, the chairman of Tesco—one of the U.K.’s largest supermarkets—warned of short-term fresh food shortages for up to “a few months” after the Brexit transition period ends in January. “We can’t rule out the possibility that if there is dislocation at the ports of entry to the U.K. there will be some shortages of some items of fresh food, at least for a time,” he said.

Whilst the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said consumers should be assured they will still continue to have access to a “range” of different products post Brexit, there are some products with a higher risk than others.

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