Say goodbye to tea and carrots: 80% of British food is imported so there will be food shortages if there's a no-deal Brexit, HSBC tells clients
- Most people think Britain only imports about 50% of its food. But the reality is that 80% of food is imported, including basics such as carrots and tea.
- Under a no-deal Brexit, "any slowdown would lead to shortages of lorries, drivers and food," HSBC is advising its clients.
- Britain's frozen-food storage facilities are already at 100% capacity.
Carrots will stay fresh if you keep them chilled, of course. But the UK's frozen food storage capacity is already 100% used, according to various press reports. "In preparation for a worst-case scenario, retailers and suppliers have been stockpiling in the UK and press reports have highlighted that there is now no unused frozen food capacity in the UK," HSBC says.
No drivers, no foodIt gets worse. "Much of the food industry is staffed by overseas workers and a major labour shortage could hurt the sector. For example, there is a shortage of Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers, with many HGV drivers in the UK coming from central Europe. As one CEO said at our CEO Forum in 2017: 'UK distribution would grind to a halt if free movement of labour was halted and truck drivers went home,'" McCarthy's team wrote. (HSBC did not immediately return multiple messages requesting further comment.)"As the supply chain is finely balanced, any slowdown would lead to shortages of lorries, drivers and food."
Of course, the HSBC team sees a silver lining. Of all Britain's major food retailers, it sees Tesco as best-placed to handle the chaos and thus McCarthy's team rates TSCO - down 24% from its most recent high last August - as a "buy."
Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain's departure from the EU, direct from Business Insider's political reporters. Join here.
- Cannes Lions 2021: India brings home a Gold, four Silver Lions and three Bronze Lions on Day 2
- E-commerce management platform CommerceIQ raises $60 million, looks to launch India operations by 2022
- Best power banks under ₹ 1000 to buy in India for 2021
- Best business laptops in India for 2021
- India is reportedly mulling over a new crypto tax which could make trading on foreign exchanges more expensive