Brexit – exiting the EU

Exiting the EU

The UK is now no longer part of the EU Single Market and Customs Union which means that we have formed two separate markets. The good news is that we are working to a new ‘agreement in principle’ which includes a trade deal with EU, but this will still mean some changes that we all need to navigate.

So what has changed?

There will now be barriers to trade in goods and services that didn’t exist before, which means more customs checks and controls, additional paperwork and new procedures for exports and imports.  For imports, UK customs are taking a pragmatic approach to their implementation, and some changes will be phased in over the next few months, for example the requirement for certification of ‘Products of Animal Origin’ which comes into effect from October 1st, 2021.

Whilst there’s not much disruption to availability of imported products right now, there could be some supply challenges in the coming months as these changes come into effect.

With a trade deal in place, we won’t see tariffs on goods coming into the UK from EU countries. The UK Government has also been making great strides in negotiating individual trade deals with other non-EU countries where we previously benefited from access to the EU’s free trade deals. There are now only small number of countries where trade deals aren’t yet in place, with whom we will trade on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms in the meantime.

What are we doing to support you?

We’ve assessed the availability risk across our range, and where we have identified products that are at risk, we’ve put in place robust mitigation plans, for example building contingency stocks, identifying alternatives or more efficient routes to market.  We’ve also put a number of other measures in place to protect customers and ensure ongoing availability of imported goods:

  • We’ve successfully completed trials of the new customs processes and paperwork for products we import ourselves
  • We are working with our experienced hauliers and clearing agents to ensure they are ready as further changes come into effect
  • We’ve advised all our suppliers about what they need to do in advance of the changes

Our top tips on planning

✔ Work closely with your suppliers to build contingency stocks

✔ Be proactive with your nominated line suppliers

✔ Review your plans for menu changes and new lines

✔ Talk to your Account Manager so that they understand and can support your plans

✔ Be prepared to be flexible with your menu planning and be aware of where your products are from

✔ Limit your menu, so you can manage stock efficiently and keep dishes as generic as possible to give you options

✔ Keep up to date with government and industry advice on what will change and what to prepare for

Where to go for more information and advice

✔ where you can go for advice about what you need to do differently, or sign up for e-mail alerts where you can read  about the new ‘agreement in principle’.

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