As the Brexit deadline approaches, people in the UK are being told to stock up on toilet rolls and soup! But the general feeling within the trade, especially for bigger companies, is to just to wait and see what will happen. The general feeling at the recent Fruit Logisitca in Berlin was to prepare the best you can and wait and see.
Paul Tomlinson from Davis Worldwide has a very relaxed attitude to the impending deadline, “This is what we do, and we will continue to do it regardless. We are still buying fruit and vegetables, we are using the Euro rate when we are forward buying to keep the price stable. There is no point stockpiling goods, that will just mean paying more to store them. People just have to be careful and not over commit or panic buy.”
He is just back from Berlin where he says they had an amazing few days and he sees a very positive future for some of the projects they have running.
“People need to eat and that won’t change after Brexit, things may become more expensive but that may not be such a bad thing. Supermarkets will have to take a look at their margins and may no longer be able to dictate to the market. It may be a good thing for growers too, they can look at alternative markets where they can achieve a higher return. Eastern Europe is becoming a good market as are many southern hemisphere countries. There are also discounters in the UK who do very well with lower margins and also stores which never did fresh produce before but are starting sell it now.”
The customs services have already said that if lorries are taking too long to get through the port, they will just let them pass, as they do at the moment.
“We can only do what is within our capabilities. We will continue to give people good produce at good prices, in the end if people want something, they will buy it anyway. This whole situation might encourage people to get back to eating seasonal produce or even growing their own.”