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Why we might not have enough food after a no-deal Brexit

We know we said we wanted economics to get real, but this is a little too real.

Yesterday, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said we'll need to make sure we've got an 'adequate food supply' if we leave the EU with no deal. It's literally getting that crazy.

What it means: This is a essentially a very basic 'supply and demand' problem. When we leave the EU, we'll still want to consume all the same stuff – demand won't change. But the way that stuff gets to us needs to change radically in line with, well, not being in the EU anymore.

And given we're not going to stop consuming things for a few weeks while they work it out, there's an awkward overlap where demand remains the same, but supply goes a little wonky while our government tries to figure out a new way of getting all the stuff we previously got from the EU, to the UK.

Like food, for example. 30% of our food comes from the EU – far outweighing imports from any other region of the world. Yesterday, Brexit secretary Raab said he was in talks with 'industry' to make sure there was enough food in the country for that interim time period when the new systems were being worked out.


Food imports UK
Source: UK Government website. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/food-statistics-pocketbook-2017/food-statistics-in-your-pocket-2017-global-and-uk-supply

The problem is, industry leaders are saying there's nowhere to store any extra food. Warehouses are filled to capacity, and most of the food we eat is fresh anyway, so stockpiling won't actually work.

Maybe learning a few interesting dishes you can make with canned goods in the next few months wouldn't be such a bad idea. You know, just in case.

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