Cadbury owner Mondelēz International is reportedly stockpiling ingredients, chocolates and biscuits in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit, according to reports.
Hubert Weber, president of Mondelēz Europe, told the Times that the company would prefer a deal that allows free flow of products but is “also preparing for a hard Brexit and […] we are stocking higher levels of ingredients and finished products”.
He added: “We have a contingency plan in place to manage [a hard Brexit], as the UK is not self-sufficient in terms of food ingredients, so that could be a challenge.”
Potential disruption to food supplies immediately after a no-deal Brexit have been given regular media coverage. This isn’t surprising – half of the UK’s food and drink supply comes from within the UK, with 30% from the EU and 20% from the rest of the world.
At Food Matters Live in November 2017, Food and Drink Federation director Ian Wright warned that reverting to World Trade Organisation tariffs in the event of a “no deal” divorce from the European Union would result in “the mother and father of all binge shopping…. and companies will stockpile ingredients”. This would then be followed by “a vacuum”, he warned, which is “the big concern”.
In July, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab was asked at a hearing with the House of Commons exiting the EU committee whether the stockpiling food is being considered.
Raab said “it would be wrong to describe it as the government doing the stockpiling. Of course, the idea that we only get food imports into this country from one continent is not appropriate, but we will look at this issue in the round and make sure that there is adequate food supply as well as all these other things. Again, I am not going to give more detail until I can set it out in a responsible and full fashion.”
Speaking about the issue to the BBC at the Royal Welsh Show, in Llanelwedd, Powys, later that month, the prime minister Theresa May said: "This is not about stockpiling, what it is about, is saying that as any business would, it's right to prepare for all eventualities. We are working for a good deal."