Brexit Fears Cram UK’s Cold Storage

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Nov 20, 2018

British food processors are so apprehensive about the impact of Brexit on the nation’s food supply that the country is running out of cold storage space.

The Guardian reports that the prospect of the UK’s leaving the European Union without agreements in place governing imports is leading food companies to stockpile supplies. This has led to a huge spike in demands for refrigerated and frozen warehouse space, outstripping the country’s capacity. Cold storage has been booked for the next six months, and customers are being turned away.

The problem is exacerbated because, as in most modern countries, Britain’s food storage system is configured on a just-in-time basis and is not built for stockpiling. The situation extends beyond refrigerated and frozen processed products to ingredients, like potatoes, that need to be kept in cold storage before processing.

Prime Minister Theresa May submitted a tentative Brexit accord to her cabinet earlier this month, but it was met with a lot of resistance.

“All the arithmetic seems to suggest that it will be impossible for the prime minister to get her deal through, so retailers and food manufacturers are continuing with contingency plans,” an executive with a British food industry trade group told The Guardian.