Brexit: from gin to cheese, the food and drink staples at risk of shortages

July 1, 2018, 5:35 pm
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Source: The Independent

No one really knows what will happen after Brexit, but as we venture into the unknown, perhaps one of the biggest causes for concern is how our supermarket shelves, fridges and stomachs will be affected.

Yes, various of your favourite foods may be at risk due to Brexit.

In fact, the government’s recently-unveiled doomsday no-deal scenario predicts severe food shortages within two weeks of leaving the European Union.

These shortages, the government claims, could see supermarkets in Cornwall and Scotland running out of food within just a couple of days.

It’s enough to make you want to dive headfirst into a goblet of gin – which you should probably do while you still can because gin is one of many staples at risk.

Here are the main food and drink items which may be at risk due to Brexit:

1. Gin

According to the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA), if the worst comes to the worst, everyone’s favourite juniper-based spirit could become harder to produce and thus more expensive.

This is because British distillers rely on EU shipments for a whole host of botanicals – including juniper – most of which come from the Mediterranean.

“The British gin industry is a great example of a booming trade that could be severely hampered if the so called ‘Brexit Armageddon’ scenario strikes,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.

2. Cheese

A report from the British Retail Consortium released last year warned that Brexit could lead to a cheese crisis due to rising import costs.

The prices of French comté, Spanish manchego and Italian burrata have already increased as a result. But even cheddar is at risk because 82 per cent (a whopping 78,000 tonnes) of the cheddar we eat in the UK comes from Irish cheesemakers.

3. Wine

A 2017 analysis by the UK Trade Policy Observatory found that by 2025 the price of wine for Brits might be 22 per cent higher than it would be without Brexit.

The researchers say the devaluation of the pound in the wake of the Brexit vote, combined with slower economic growth, is to blame, as costs are pushed up.

4. Olive oil

Last year, the price of olive oil hit a seven-year high due to the Brexit-induced collapse of the pound and erratic weather in Spain and Italy.

“Olive oil is becoming a luxury,” said Italian Chef Francesco Mazzei, who runs Sartoria in London’s Mayfair.

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