Sunday 22 October 2017

Warning UK food inflation already affecting Irish producers

Stock picture
Stock picture
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Businesses are already feeling the Brexit effect, with food inflation in the UK having a knock-on impact on sales, warned the country's largest dairy exporter.

Ornua's Kevin Lane said it was a "vicious circle" as food inflation in Britain was now running at 3pc with a 15pc move in sterling, which would affect the volumes of Irish produce on shop shelves.

"Your costs have gone higher in doing business in Britain. You are seeing food inflation on the shelves which is reducing volume. You put all of that together and it is not a pretty scenario," Mr Lane said.

He was addressing a forum on Brexit at the Teagasc showcase dairy event in Moorepark, Co Cork, attended by around 15,000 farmers. The exporter behind the valuable Kerrygold butter brand said it was still analysing the exact cost to its business but it would definitely have a "negative impact".

Teagasc's Pat Dillon warned farmers were also being exposed to the market swings, with milk price now three times more volatile than in the past. He said sustainable production was vital with Brexit on the horizon.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed warned that a Brexit 'no deal', as has been mentioned in the UK, would be a "really bad deal" for Ireland.

"It would mean WTO tariffs, which for beef and dairy are in excess of 50 or 60pc," he said. "At that level of tariffs, our product is simply not sustainable on the supermarket shelves in the UK."

Irish Independent

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