The chairman of Tesco has admitted that the stores have been stockpiling long-life products in preparation for No-deal Brexit trading changes at the turn of the new year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson headed to Brussels last night for a last-ditch negotiation, where he accused the European Union of insisting on terms “no prime minister could accept”.
As this was announced, Tesco’s chairman John Allan, announced that the supermarket chain will be stockpiling products with a long ‘shelf-life’ in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.
The UK have until the 31st December to agree a new trade deal with the EU, after which, if there is no agreement, tariffs could considerably raise the price of food and medicines.
In the bid to avoid the chaos that hit us during the first lockdown, with trading ports halted and supermarkets unable to stock up on products such as flour and pasta, the supermarket giant has taken matters into their own hands.
Allan warned that leaving the EU without a trade deal could leave supermarket shelves empty once again as prices rise along with tariffs.
He said: “We are trying to ensure that we have stockpiled as much as we can of non-live product either in our own warehouses or with our suppliers.
“If we leave on a no-deal basis there will be tariffs, and those tariffs can be quite substantial on some food items.”
Ports such as Dover and Southampton could face severe delays caused by increased tariffs and complex new border checks.
But Mr Allan claimed the gaps on supermarket shelves would be temporary and warned shoppers not to panic buy.
“We may see some shortages of fresh foods, particularly short-life fresh foods,” he said.
“I think that will only be for a limited period, perhaps a month or two, before we get back to normal.
“I don’t think there is any reason at all for any consumer to panic or panic buy at the moment.
“There is still going to be plenty of food in the UK – there may just be slightly restricted choice for a period of time.”
Food prices could go up an average 3-5% while tariffs on imported dairy products like French cheeses could be as high as 40%.