Tesco joins Aldi in issuing stark warning over fresh food being stuck rotting at the borders as threat of no-deal Brexit looms
- Tesco’s boss warns of risk of fresh food being stuck at borders in no deal Brexit
- He said the possibility of stockpiling fresh goods would be ‘very, very limited’
- Rival Aldi also said on Monday that stockpiling would be difficult
Tesco is the latest in a line of UK supermarkets to warn over the risk of fresh food rotting at the borders if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.
As Tesco puts contingency plans in place for a no-deal Brexit, boss Dave Lewis said that ensuring uninterrupted transport of fresh food across borders would be the ‘single biggest challenge’ for supermarkets.
Tesco boss Dave Lewis said keeping a flow of fresh food would be the ‘biggest challenge’
He said: ‘The biggest single challenge will be in a no-deal scenario and what happens with fresh food. The possibility of stockpiling fresh food is very, very limited.’
Lewis stopped short of confirming if Tesco was actively stockpiling, but said it was a possibility with dry food.
He is the second grocery chief to highlight the issue this week. On Monday, German discounter Aldi said it had considered stockpiling food as part of its preparations for Brexit.
But its UK boss, Giles Hurley, cautioned that Aldi’s expanded fresh food range would make this more difficult.
Tesco’s Lewis added that the firm was preparing for the eventuality of a ‘no-deal’ but it was still in ‘wait and see’ mode until the outcome of negotiations becomes clearer.
He said transporting fresh food is ‘where all our attention will be in the lead-up’ to Brexit, with contingency planning stepping up after Christmas if a deal is still not struck.
The comments came as Tesco unveiled half-year results. Despite posting a 24 per cent spike in operating profits, the supermarket undershot analyst expectations, sending its share price falling in early trading.
Tesco’s shares have taken a tumble today as profits missed analysts’ high expectations
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said in July that the Government is making plans to secure food supply in the event of no deal being struck. But he said it was ‘wrong to describe it as the Government doing the stockpiling’, indicating that industry would need to take the lead.
Research by Barclays Corporate Banking last week revealed that food retailers face a mammoth £9.3billion cost in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
It said higher tariffs and customs costs could hit supermarkets and their supply chains hard, and warned that the price of some groceries may go up as a result.