Supermarket rationing: Supply chains "less resilient" due to Brexit

Today, supermarket chains Asda and Morrisons announced that they would begin rationing certain produce items like tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce in response to widespread shortages caused by extreme weather in southern Europe and northern Africa.

Reports say the rationing could go on for weeks, as the UK relies heavily on these regions to supply its produce in the winter months.

These shortages have been compounded by high energy costs and other issues impacting the UK’s supply and transport chains, which have added stress on businesses exporting and importing food between the UK and EU.

Post-Brexit, the UK has become increasingly reliant on non-EU countries like Morocco to supply its produce, with reports last year indicating a 40% increase in food imported to the UK from that country from January 2021-April 2022. This reliance has left the UK exposed to actions like Morocco’s recent tightening of produce exports.

Rationing in UK supermarkets is the latest indication that Brexit is harming the UK’s ability to feed its citizens. Last year, the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance found that the average British household’s yearly food bill is £210 higher because of Brexit.

Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of internationalist campaign group Best for Britain said,

“Brexit is not responsible for the adverse conditions which have impacted crops this year but it has made UK supply chains less resilient and increased costs for both importers and exporters.

"Like the £200 Brexit premium on annual food bills for Brits, empty supermarket shelves will be a more common sight until the Government improves their shambolic Brexit deal.”