Remain-backing Ocado chairman warns that Britain will see ‘short-term’ food shortages


Remain-backing Ocado chairman warns that extra Brexit costs will be passed on to customers and Britain will see ‘short-term’ food shortages due to new customs rules

  • Lord Rose, chairman of Ocado, said customs rules to see ‘some’ food shortages
  • He claimed difficulties of Brexit-related customs rules to be felt by consumers 
  • Comments come as Twitter users share photos of empty supermarket shelves

The chairman of Ocado has warned that difficulties caused by the introduction of new Brexit-related customs rules will mean ‘some short-term’ food shortages.

Lord Rose, chairman of supermarket delivery company Ocado, said the difficulties being experienced by traders due to the new rules were likely to be passed on to consumers.

The former Remain campaign chief told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘You can’t interfere with a finely honed, 50-year legacy supply chain and expect it to all run smoothly on day one.

Lord Rose, chairman of supermarket delivery company Ocado, said the difficulties being experienced by traders due to the new rules were likely to be passed on to consumers

‘The issue of transport and hauliers not wanting to send their lorries here is because they are worried about their lorries being stuck and worried about lost profit, which means therefore the cost will be passed on to the consumer.

‘You will see some short-term shortages but let’s be clear, there is not going to be a famine.

‘Food will continue to come in, although at this time of the year 50-80 per cent – plus of our fruit and veg comes in from Europe and beyond and a lot of that comes in through Dover on trucks. 

Kevin Rampling tweeted a photo of empty shelves at Sainsbury's in Sydney Street, Cambridge

Kevin Rampling tweeted a photo of empty shelves at Sainsbury’s in Sydney Street, Cambridge

Kevin Rampling, from Cambridge, tweeted: 'Sainsburys, Sydney Street, Cambridge. No deliveries from wholesalers apparently?? Is it all beginning to fall apart?'

Kevin Rampling, from Cambridge, tweeted: ‘Sainsburys, Sydney Street, Cambridge. No deliveries from wholesalers apparently?? Is it all beginning to fall apart?’

‘We’re talking about fresh product which is perishable.

‘If it doesn’t get out within 24 hours, it goes off, it rots, it gets thrown away – that’s lost profit, that’s a real problem for businesses both ways.’  

The comments come as social media users across the country complained that fresh produce shelves were sitting unstocked.

Kevin Rampling, from Cambridge, tweeted: ‘Sainsburys, Sydney Street, Cambridge. No deliveries from wholesalers apparently?? Is it all beginning to fall apart?’

Brendan from Belfast tweeted: 'No prawns in Sainsburys. That’s it. I’m now anti Brexit.'

 Brendan from Belfast tweeted: ‘No prawns in Sainsburys. That’s it. I’m now anti Brexit.’

John Brennan shared a picture of empty shelves at Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

John Brennan shared a picture of empty shelves at Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Helen Cathcart also shared a picture of empty Tesco shelves in Antrim, Northern Ireland

Helen Cathcart also shared a picture of empty Tesco shelves in Antrim, Northern Ireland

Sarah responded with a picture of empty shelves in another Sainsbury’s adding: ‘Same in Barnet, north London.’

While another user by the name of Bryan tweeted: ‘One of two Sainsbury’s in Luton this evening… The entire fruit and veg aisles are almost bare.’

Brendan from Belfast tweeted: ‘No prawns in Sainsburys. That’s it. I’m now anti Brexit.’ 

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said the supply issue at some of their stores was not Brexit related, stating: ‘Due to an operational issue at one of our depots, deliveries of fruit and vegetables to some stores were delayed. 

‘Stores are now receiving deliveries again and customers can expect to see good availability.’ 

A Tesco spokesperson said: ‘We have a good supply of products coming into Northern Ireland.

‘There has been a short delay on certain products but we’re working with suppliers to get these back on the shelves as quickly as possible and direct customers to alternatives where we can.’ 

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