Freshfel and FPC urge UK government to extend derogations on phytosanitary certifications
Freshfel Europe calls for urgent need to ensure free movement of essential goods to and from the United Kingdom in crucial Christmas pre-Brexit period
Aldi to create 4,000 new jobs in UK
German discounter Aldi is to hire 4,000 new workers in the UK, after committing to investing £1.3 billion into upgrading stores and distribution centres by 2022. The move follows a 49% increase in pre-tax profits to £271.5 million in 2019, reports Retail Gazette. Sales were up by 8.3% to £12.3 billion thanks to a 6% rise in new shoppers to 17.6 million.
UK produce sector promises continued supplies
Leading players in the UK’s fresh produce industry are reassuring the country’s consumers that stocks will be maintained despite lockdowns in many of the supplying countries, such as Spain and Peru. There may however be delays in road transport through Europe as drivers no longer share cabs, meaning more frequent rest periods will be required. Also, prices are set to rise as the pound falls to its lowest value against the US dollar in 35 years. This increases the cost of transporting goods from abroad.
What can EU produce sector expect after Brexit?
With the UK all but certain to leave the EU in 2020, the European fruit and vegetable industry is viewing with great concern the potential impact this will have on intra-EU trade flows. A recent Rabobank report found that fresh produce will be the most affected food sector following Brexit, along with animal protein. At a time when the EU agricultural sector is still adjusting to the fallout of the Russian embargo, the potential loss of another key market could have devastating consequences.
Tesco trials plastic-free fruit and vegetable packaging
UK retail giant Tesco has announced a month-long trial of eliminating plastic-wrapped fruits and vegetables in an attempt to cut out waste. The scheme will start in two of the chain’s Tesco Extra stores (in Watford and Swindon). Instead of packaged items, customers will find loose versions of 45 different products, including apples, onions, mushrooms and peppers. Director of quality, Sarah Bradbury, said, “We hope this trial proves popular with customers.
Effects of a no-deal Brexit?
What are the outcomes of a no-deal Brexit? The contents of shelves in UK supermarkets could change. About 30% of the UK’s food currently comes from the EU, and fresh vegetables and fruit will become more expensive due to increased import taxes and transport delays. Moreover, there may be a fall in the value of the pound, which would compound the price rise. Supermarkets themselves have already warned that there could be empty shelves and higher prices and the Bank of England has said that shopping bills could increase by 10% in a worst case scenario.
Sainsbury’s and Asda hit back at claims merger would harm customers
Following criticism last month from the Competition and Markets Authority about the impact on customer choice and prices of Sainsbury’s and Asda merging, Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury's, and Asda's chief executive, Roger Burnley have issued a joint statement contesting the authority’s findings and stressing the benefits for customers regarding savings :
Inland food checks if Brexit ends in no-deal
Defra has announced that rather than border checks, should there be a no-deal Brexit, food inspections will take place inland to ensure compliance with protocols. With the official Brexit date looming (29th March), Defra has confirmed that marketing standards processes at UK borders will not change in the short term if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. However, these arrangements are only temporary. The measure does not apply to green banana imports from the EU, with importers told to contact the PEACH helpdesk or the SASA Horticulture and Marketing Unit as appropriate.
Shadow cast over merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda
The merger between giant UK supermarket chains Sainsbury's and Asda is in serious doubt following an appraisal by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which said customers could see higher prices and less choice if the two companies combined. The value of Sainsbury’s shares plummeted 15% after the announcement by UK's competition watchdog, which said the deal could be blocked deal or that it may force the sale of a large number of stores or even one of the brand names.