Article September 12, 2017

What effect is Brexit having on UK food and beverage manufacturers?

Brexit conjures up different reactions from different parties, but regardless of which camp you may have found yourself in last summer, there is no denying that the landscape for UK food and beverage manufacturers is somewhat in limbo for the midterm future. 71% of members of the Food and Drink Federation endorsed the UK remaining in the EU, with the FDF Director General Ian Wright CBE commenting on the referendum result, “It’s inevitable in light of those results that the majority of FDF members will regard this as a disappointing result for the food and drink industry”.

The following is a LinkedIn article by Product Recall Practice Leader Natasha Catchpole.

UK exports grew by nearly 10% in 2016 with the global sales of UK food and drink hitting the £20bn mark for the first time. As our largest export market, we rely on EU member countries for trade.

So far the industry is faring well, at 2017 half year figures our Food and Drink exports once up again 8.5% on 2016, attributable to sales to the EU block, with our top market being Ireland. You can view the export snapshot produced by the FDF here: https://www.fdf.org.uk/publicgeneral/FDF-exports-h1-2017.pdf

Regardless, manufacturers should be aware of the effect of change to our consumer law. As it currently stands, it is a combination of home-grown UK law (based on the Consumer Rights Act 2015) and EU derived law.

How we structure our regulations going forward will dictate how our food and beverage industry stands from a competitive and trade standpoint. Issues will likely arise if the EU changes or adds to its product liability laws going forward, at which point, not being an EEA member will then provide the UK government with the choice of either implementing the laws or allowing businesses to make that call individually.

Should a change in regulation initiate increased regulatory activity, our policy’s ‘government actions’ section will provide cover when the FSA recommends a food or drink recall due to health risks.