Is UK sleepwalking into a food crisis post Brexit?

The former CEO of Sainsbury’s supermarket, Justin King gave a clear cut warning about Brexit will bring, “higher prices, less choice, and poorer quality” and that the consumers are completely unaware of the situation. Monday’s report by three leading food academics confirms the crisis.

They say that the lack of a plan by the government regarding food supply and trade shows that it is sleepwalking to a crisis. They further added that the supply and prices for food could be badly disrupted post Brexit on a scale that is “unprecedented for an advanced economy outside of wartime.”

Professors Tim Lang of City University, Erik Millstone of the University of Sussex, and Terry Marsden of the University of Cardiff have published the report titled “A Food Brexit: Time to get real” and standing apt to its title the report emphasizes on how much this potential crisis has been ignored. “The country could sleep-walk into a food crisis, unless these problems are acknowledged and addressed.”

Current scenario is that one-third of UK’s food supply comes from EU countries and there is no strategy in place to overcome in case there is a shortfall. “The UK food system, consumer tastes and prices have been thoroughly Europeanised. This will be impossible to cut out or back by March 2019 without enormous consequences. The UK food system faces real challenges on food security.” says the report.

The report also goes on to say that though the British people claim to eat British food, tastes have definitely changed. “A return to a 1950s or 60’s pre-EU ‘British’ era of food is unlikely. Churchillian romantics who see Brexit as an opportunity to relive Imperial or wartime days go silent if the culinary era of tinned peaches and spam are mentioned.”

Price rise is also predicted in the report and the victims will be the poorest who’ll be the hardest hit by Brexit. The report further says the prices can rise up to five times if no trade deal is made between UK and EU. To make matters worse, the food prices are already on the rise due to the downfall of the pound last year.

There is another report by the Sussex University that says Britain’s agricultural industry can suffer when the EU subsidies come to a close. “The UK food system ought to be improving its resilience. It isn’t. It’s like the rabbit caught in the headlights – with no goals, no leadership, and eviscerated key ministries.”