Brexit: food prices and availability Contents

Brexit: food prices and availability

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.30% of the food we eat in the UK comes from the EU, and another 20% comes from non-EU countries (see Figure 1). With half of the UK’s food being imported, any change to its trading arrangements could affect its food supply. At the time of writing, trade agreements for when the UK leaves the EU (or for any transition period) have yet to be agreed, but Brexit will inevitably change the UK’s trading relationships both with the EU and with non-EU countries.

Figure 1: Origins of food consumed in the UK in 2016

Pie chart

Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Agriculture in the United Kingdom data sets, Chapter 14 - the food chain, Table 14.3 (2017): [accessed 9 April 2018]

2.We all need access to nutritious and affordable food. Most of us shop for food at least once a week. If Brexit were to affect the price or availability of food, it would be felt by the whole population very quickly.

3.In this report, we explore if and how Brexit might affect the price and availability of food for UK consumers. We focus on food bought in shops and markets, although we recognise that some of the same impacts would also apply to food eaten in cafes and restaurants, or bought from takeaways.

4.The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, whose members are listed in Appendix 1, met in February 2018 to take evidence for this inquiry. We are grateful to those who gave oral evidence and to those who responded to our targeted request for written contributions, all of whom are listed in Appendix 2.

5.We make this report to the House for debate.

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