Seven years on, Brexit—Britain’s unilateral withdrawal from the European Union (EU)—remains (I gather) a divisive issue. But one sector that probably thinks of it as a bad idea is British fruit growers.
In recent days, produce shortages in the U.K. have become a topic in the consumer media. Major retail grocery chains, including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, and Aldi, have imposed customer purchase limits on salad vegetable items.
In October, the United Kingdom and New Zealand agreed in principle to sign a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. There might be some interesting transferable lessons for the U.S. fruit sector from this - at a time when the progress in UK–U.S. free trade talks seems to have gone off the boil somewhat.
U.S. produce exporters over the years have often moved away from the UK and other EU markets, in favour of Latin & Central America and Asia. As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, it will be interesting to see if the UK market comes back on to the U.S. radar.
After four years of Brexit talk, one might be forgiven for thinking that we have had enough of discussing the pros and cons of trade deals for British fruit and vegetable businesses.
There hasn’t been a fresh produce supplier in the UK that hasn’t been impacted by Covid-19 in some shape, form or manner. The big ticket items the fresh produce sector needs to address though, won’t go away.
The last few weeks have shown us both how fragile our fresh food supply chains are in the UK, but they have also shown us how resilient they can be too.
There are always opportunities, but there are probably no gaping holes for U.S. produce to fill.
Reassuring news for the British public about a no-deal Brexit: they’re not likely to run out …