Grocer magazine: Tesco chairman warns of short-term food shortages after Brexit

(81 Posts)
SupplyChainHusband Mon 19-Oct-20 15:38:27

A story just caught my eye from the grocer magazine (which is a high quality influential industry magazine focusing on all things grocery). It's dated last Friday.

Tesco’s chairman John Allan has 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 UK there will be some shortages of some items of fresh food, at least for a time,” Allan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday.

Allan insisted there was no need for the public to stockpile, “but there may be some things we have to learn to do without for a few weeks, possibly a few months after Brexit,” he said.


The article goes on to flag that the average imported food item will face tariffs of around 20%. (If anyone is wondering, most of our food stuff in the first quarter is imported).

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AldiIsla Mon 19-Oct-20 17:58:38

Well that's a sobering article.

Will keep this in mind when prepping. Going to have a think about getting 5+ fruit and veg a day into my kids when there's a shortage of fresh.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 19-Oct-20 18:27:10

Dried fruit is reasonably easy: 30g per portion. Stores well too.

Dried beans store for yonks too. Probably because they are a pain in the arse to cook.

Try growing in pots indoors. Ex has success with coriander, mine dies. I am growing spring onions from the cut off roots of supermarket bought onions.

Bellini recommends perpetual spinach and microgreens. Ex can keep those supermarket live salad plants alive too.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 19-Oct-20 18:32:33

Yeah and bloody hell that is a sobering read.

lexloofah Mon 19-Oct-20 19:01:45

I read that too, he doesn't want anyone to panic but reading between the lines would be wise to prepare practically and mentally

It's at least a time of year when we don't mind tinned fruit & frozen veg, I crave fresh stuff more in the summer.

We will take vit c tabs over winter anyway and probiotics for the kids.

I have some frozen fruit and long life juice and oat milk for smoothies and shakes,

I like dried fruit, harder to get DCs to eat it.

AldiIsla Mon 19-Oct-20 19:12:11

We have dried fruit on cereals. I'm always aware it's not great for teeth. Sticky and sweet..

Maybe with a mix of dried, long life juice, tinned and some frozen veg it'll work.

SupplyChainHusband Mon 19-Oct-20 19:28:43

Can you hide dried fruit in fairy cakes in a worst case they won't eat it any other way? Or maybe do a tagine?

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omega3 Mon 19-Oct-20 19:31:29

Did he say which fresh foods in particular?

omega3 Mon 19-Oct-20 19:33:11

No, no he didn't. smile

hellisotherpeopleandhorlicks Mon 19-Oct-20 19:38:04

Very concerning. Not surprising though
Worried about getting enough fruit and veg for DS who will be 1 - think I'll stock up on the baby food pouches so I can add them to grains and things

DrMaryMalone Mon 19-Oct-20 19:46:51

At that time of year a lot of the veg such as broccoli, salads items etc will be coming from Spain.

SupplyChainHusband Mon 19-Oct-20 19:49:18

Consider also looking for local fruit and veg delivery services as their supply chains may be different to the supermarkets, it gives you an alternative sourcing option. Some of these were suppliers that catered to the business to business and then flipped to doing local home deliveries to survive once covid took off. As an example, in my part of East Midlands we have If you don't know any, try asking on your local pages on Facebook.

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hellisotherpeopleandhorlicks Mon 19-Oct-20 20:15:14

That's a good idea we have a local farm delivery box so they would likely be unaffected, hopefully. I think I'll sign up tomorrow while they're still taking new customers

lexloofah Mon 19-Oct-20 20:36:37

We get a veg box it's been brilliant since the start of the pandemic, should be ok for root veg, kale and things like squash which keep for ages. It will be things like peppers, salad, tomatoes that will be missing

I don't mind that so much but feel bad for the guinea pigs who eat fresh stuff, am growing a few things for them

BlackeyedSusan Mon 19-Oct-20 21:22:41

With the dried fruit... If you are getting say three portions via dried fruit, you only need two others. Thus there will be more of what the kids like for them. Going to be tricky for DD and me who need plenty of veg to manage our medical conditions. We'll be on the dried beans. Just don't light any matches...

Raisins go well in flap jack a d cakes, though they may pick them out. Sultanas and apricots in tagline and curry.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 19-Oct-20 21:25:29

Other than fresh, what else is likely to be delayed in port?

OrangeLeavesYellowLeaves Mon 19-Oct-20 21:26:30

I keep long life fruit juice, tinned peaches, frozen fruit and veg over winter.

SupplyChainHusband Mon 19-Oct-20 21:33:09

@BlackeyedSusan realistically everything that isn't flown in (so exotic fruit, flowers, pharmaceutical) or produced in the UK is at risk. NB There's no guarantee even with airfreight. There's only so many available planes and ground staff to handle them. Unfortunately there's little you can do other than go frozen or canned. My wife is potentially at risk for some of her mental health meds. We are trying to stock up by reordering monthly prescriptions early.

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FusionChefGeoff Mon 19-Oct-20 21:55:01

So far I've had success with tinned carrots and sweetcorn. Tinned peas are disgusting! Would tinned tomatoes / mixed. beans / baked beans count as a 5 a day??

Peaches and pineapple are also popular here. My freezers are currently mainly full of meat / freezer dinners and cheese / butter so I will maybe look to rebalance that towards more veggies do you think?? Have got some frozen berries but might boost that a bit too.

Any other tinned options worth investigating???

floridapalmtree Mon 19-Oct-20 22:23:01

So fresh fruit and vegetables are at risk, and medicines. I presume that we will be ok for meat and dairy that is from the UK mostly? Is there anything else that we need to be aware of that might be difficult to get hold of?

SupplyChainHusband Mon 19-Oct-20 23:07:11

@FusionChefGeoff try using tinned peas in home made curries.

@floridapalmtree I've read that all diary products are likely to become hard to find; yoghurt, cheese, butter particularly and may become occasional luxuries for some. Search for "butter shortages brexit" for instance and you'll find several mainstream media articles on it. I have 9kg of butter in the freezer, primarily for baking.

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CoffeeAndWhisky Tue 20-Oct-20 06:31:03

Meat and milk will only be an issue in terms of animal feed and - apparently - packaging. The last part, I'm sure can be improvised to some degree (hello tupperware) and I expect animal feed to be a priority at the ports.

Other dairy products could be more problematic - but churning butter is really not as complicated as it is often made out to be, so you can always make that at home if you get your hands on cream or whole milk. Same with yoghurt, as long as you have a starter.

lexloofah Tue 20-Oct-20 08:59:31

Wow I did not realise we imported so much dairy. Why are we not self sufficient in that as we have the right climate. Importing bananas I understand but dairy.

We buy British butter, local milk and cheddar cheese mostly, things like Brie are an occasional treat but I assume prices will go up so will feel the effect that way

Yes my DCs are raisin picker outers, they will eat dried apricots so will stick to those and save the dried figs and tinned prunes for me.

SupplyChainHusband Tue 20-Oct-20 09:14:11

There's a similar problem with veg @lexloofah. (from the London school of economics) is worth reading in full if you have 10 minutes but if you don't scan table 2 halfway through the article. It lists how much we import of major veg and fruit and where it comes from. Bear in mind that it's across a whole year and in the summer the UK gets around 60% of its fruit and veg from domestic sources.

The standouts for me are tomatoes and peppers as a big chunk of them is from the EU (mostly the Netherlands and Spain respectively). Availability is going to be an issue due to major border delays (never mind tariffs driving up costs).

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HasaDigaEebowai Tue 20-Oct-20 09:26:07

The biggest issues will be with soft fruit and veg since they will suffer more from delays in terms of quality which will impact on whether suppliers are prepared to try to send them. So out of season berries, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, salads, peaches, nectarines, apricots, citrus fruits, olives, mushrooms.

For our family we can cope without most of these apart from tomatoes mushrooms and peppers for a few months so the freezer will get a top up of these and I need to top up our orange juice supplies. With the rest of the fruit we can make do with tinned and eat lots of crumbles etc and then eat mainly apples as fresh fruit. I already have lots of tinned rhubarb, berries, apples and apple sauce, grapefruit, pineapple and also have dried fruit. Obviously not enough to last indefinitely and I think we all need to be prepared for permanent food prices rises, but enough to see us though a few months.

At least the false starts we've had have given us longer to stock up.

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