Should you be stockpiling for Brexit? Domino’s Pizza are stockpiling ingredients to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. Unilever is stockpiling magnums, amongst other items. Majestic said it would import an extra £8 million of wine. Airline meals are being stockpiled. Pets at Home are stockpiling pet food. Research suggests that one in five people in the UK have started stockpiling goods in preparation for a possible no-deal Brexit. Households have already spent £4 billion – that’s approximately £380 each household. Facebook has groups prepping for Brexit whilst Twitter has numerous hashtags relating to Brexit, including #what’s in your stockpile.
So why might you want to consider stockpiling for Brexit?
The only reason you might consider stockpiling, is if you believe there is a possibility there may be shortages of items in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Do you think there may be food shortages? Are you confident you will be able to purchase any over the counter medication you may require?
Will There Be Food Shortages?
Likelihood of Food Shortages Has Increased
My blog in February Brexit Food Shortages – Should You Be Worried? looked at this issue. I concluded that when we leave the EU we are likely to lose access to a large amount of our current food supplies. Today it seems more likely that we will leave the EU without a deal, so the likelihood of food shortages has increased.
Selective Shortages of Food will go on for Weeks or Months
Tim Rycroft, the head of the Food and Drinks Federation has described a no-deal Brexit as having a “disastrous outcome”. He has said that there would be “selective shortages” of food that would go on for “weeks or months”.
Food Supply Faces levels of Disruption Unprecedented in Peacetime
In a paper entitled “No-deal food planning in UK Brexit” published in The Lancet, Tim Lang, a professor of food policy at London’s City University has warned that the UK’s food supply faces levels of disruption “unprecedented” in peacetime.
Food Supply Disruptions are Almost Inevitable
Tim Benton, an expert in food systems, from the University of Leeds, has warned that food supply disruptions are “almost inevitable”.
Timing of Brexit Makes the Situation Worse
The timing of Brexit exacerbates the possibility of food shortage problems. The 31st October coincides with the end of the British agricultural growing season, when there is already a reduced availability of domestic fresh produce. Also, most of the warehouse space has already been reserved for the Christmas period, so companies that stockpiled goods in the run-up to March no longer have the space. Food and drink manufacturers also face difficulty in securing frozen and chilled warehousing space for stockpiling, as the space required has already been booked for Christmas provisions.
Eating Christmas Food in the Autumn
There has even been the suggestion that we may have to eat Christmas food in Autumn if there is a no-deal Brexit!!! The Food and Drink Federation has suggested that stockpiled Christmas supplies may have to compensate for random shortages caused by a no-deal disruption.
So who do you believe?
The government has said that it is boosting its preparations for a no-deal Brexit to ensure that there is “as little disruption as possible to our national life”.
However, a leaked government document, entitled Operation Yellowhammer, paints a different picture. It predicts food, medicine and fuel shortages if there is a no-deal Brexit on 31st October 2019.
So I suppose it’s really a question of who you believe.
Living in Kent, and experiencing first-hand the problems when sections of the M20 are closed under Operation Stack, together with the proposals to use the M26 for the ‘safe management’ of lorries, does not fill me with confidence.
What Items Will I Be Stockpiling?
Obviously fresh fruit and vegetables cannot be stockpiled, so I will substitute tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables. Since the UK imports nearly all the yoghurt it eats, and a lot comes from the EU, this is likely to become a luxury item as it does not keep.
My list has been based on the list provided by Jack Monroe here. I’ve altered it slightly to fit my own needs.
You will see from my list that there are some items that we are not dependent upon the EU for, but in anticipation of panic buying I have included them in my stockpile.
Stockpile List for Brexit
- Fruit – tinned & frozen
- Vegetables – tinned & frozen
- Tinned Beans – baked, kidney, chickpeas, etc
- Fish – tinned & frozen
- Flour – plain, self raising, strong bread flour
- Dried Yeast
- Sugar – granulated, caster, demerara, etc
- Milk – UHT, Almond & Coconut Milk
- Peanut Butter
- Chocolate – since the UK does not grow cocoa beans
- Tomato Sauce
- Tomato & Garlic Puree
- Stock Cubes
- Herbs & Spices
- Cooking Oil
- Tinned Olives
- Meat – in particular, pig meat and beef
- Washing UP Liquid
- Dishwasher Tablets & Rinse Aid
- Toilet Rolls
- Pet Food
Will I Need To Stockpile All These Items?
Probably not – but who knows what the shortages will be!
Tim Rycroft, Chief Operating Officer for the Food & Drink Federation has said “The thing that’s hard to say is what the shortages will be because that depends to some extent on which lorries get through and which don’t”. Given that around a third of all food consumed in the UK comes from EU member states, it’ll be a bit like pot luck.
Why am I buying pig meat?
We currently import 55% of our pig meat from the EU. I will therefore be buying additional bacon, sausages, loin, etc prior to Brexit.
In the first nine months of 2018, 94% of beef imports into the UK came from EU member states, and 75% of that came from Ireland.
Is there really going to be a shortage of loo rolls?
The Director General of the Confederation of Paper Industries has stated that toilet roll shortage is not an impossibility. Apparently, 50% of the wood pulp used to make toilet rolls in UK factories comes into the country on lorries from Sweden, an EU member state. I will not be risking it and have started stocking up on toilet rolls!
Is It Irresponsible To Stockpile?
I don’t believe it is. I think I’m just being prudent.
The threat of snow results in panic buying, so goodness knows what the threat of a no-deal Brexit will cause.
Supermarkets themselves have warned that there could be empty shelves, and they have been stockpiling some foods. Obviously they are unable to do that for fresh fruit and vegetables. I’m just buying items that I can use at a later date if my fears of a no-deal Brexit do not materialise.
The government has said that panic buying could mean retailers run out of some products. I understand that Boris Johnson’s £100 million advertising campaign in support of a no-deal Brexit will warn against stockpiling.
I’m sorry, but I am not going to take the risk.
As an individual there is not much I can do to protect my family against a no-deal Brexit, but I can make sure that we will eat. I just feel so sorry for those in a less fortunate position than myself and do not have the means to purchase food, let alone buy extra items.
If my fears are unwarranted, and we leave the EU as easily as some have promised, then perhaps all of us who have stockpiled will donate food items to their local food banks. Let me know what you think.