Brexit sees Brits stockpile food supplies from the Continent

Brexit sees Brits stockpile food supplies from the Continent

Belgian exports to the UK have soared as Brexit uncertainty continues, in what a sector specialist is calling a move by Brits to stockpile supplies ahead of a potential hard Brexit.

In one year, the Belgian agri-food industry recorded 16.2% additional revenue by shipping its products across the Channel, according to calculations by the federation of the sector, the Fevia, relayed on Friday by Le Soir.

The reason appears to be linked to concerns over food shortages, leading to the building up reserves.

Belgian food and beverage products sent to the United Kingdom have grown almost continuously since 2014. In that year, food exports amounted to €2 billion. In 2018, they reached 2.2 billion. This represents an increase of 8.1% in four years.

"Our exports took off because British food companies and consumers are building up stocks of frozen vegetables, potatoes for fish and chips or Belgian chocolate to be ready in the coming weeks to cushion the impact of a potentially hard Brexit. They fear food shortages," said Nicholas Courant, the federation's spokesperson, who interviewed the dairy, bread, vegetable and chocolate sectors.

The trend has intensified in recent months. From €528.68 million in the first quarter of 2018, Belgian food exports to British customers rose to €638.56 million in the first quarter of this year. A jump of 16.2% (+16.7% for food, +9.5% for beverages). According to Fevia, the movement continues to this day.

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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