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How is Brexit affecting food and drink businesses?

  • Publish Date: Posted over 2 years ago
  • Author:by Sarah Goodway

Brexit is already causing a plethora of problems, both costly and damaging, for small businesses across the UK; however, many are finding ways to succeed despite the current economic state.

The confidence and effort required to start a small business proves the optimism of those entrepreneurs fighting back at Brexit, but are they failing to recognise the adverse effects of the seemingly endless negotiations?

The UK currently imports 50% of its food, and while there isn’t a definitive view on how this will look post Brexit, it’s sure to impact the cost and availability of storage for goods.

While the cost of import is understandably at the forefront of business owners’ minds, the storage of goods also presents a significant issue. Medium and large companies, with the benefit of higher cash flows, are stockpiling goods for the future. Meaning the cost and availability of storage are nearly out of reach for small food and drink start-ups.

Another thing to consider are regulations surrounding packaging, with different requirements needed for Brexit with or without a deal. Labelling and packing have been put on hold for many as they wait with bated breath for a resolution.

Investors across all sectors are reluctant to invest in the businesses with Brexit negotiations in full flow, waiting for a resolution before investing money into the UK economy and lessening the cash-flow opportunities of smaller business that rely on investors.

A workforce shortage may also be a point of worry for many owners, with EU workers packing up and leaving the UK with a change in immigration rules possibly imminent. This doesn’t apply to blue-collar workers alone either; many white-collar executives are opting to head home to stay within the EU.

It may not be all doom and gloom. Some experts believe that the shift in dynamics across the UK could open new opportunities for entrepreneurs and job seekers alike; they are also confident of investment into the UK regardless of the Brexit outcome.

Options to grow brands further afield to Latin and Asian markets are a solid choice for some business owners and possibilities of moving production to countries like Turkey, where costs are low without compromising on quality. Most noticeably should be the opportunities for job seekers to swoop in and secure the roles left behind by departing EU nationals.

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