No-deal Brexit would cause severe dairy shortages in UK
Tighter supplies and significant price hikes for dairy staples such as butter, cheese and yoghurt have been forecast for Britain if the country crashes out of the EU next March.
A London School of Economics (LSE) report, which was commissioned by the dairy processor Arla Foods, has warned that the UK will face severe dairy shortages if a Brexit deal is not secured.
Britain is a net importer of dairy produce and depends on supplies primarily from Ireland, Denmark, Holland, Germany and France for everyday items such as cheddar cheese and butter.
However, the report warns that tariffs of between 41pc and 74pc will be imposed on dairy produce if EU-UK trade reverts to WTO rules.
Reacting to the findings of the report, Ash Amirahmadi, the UK managing director of Arla Foods, warned of serious implications for both the supply and price of dairy products.
"Most likely we would see shortages of products and a sharp rise in prices, turning everyday staples like butter, yoghurts, cheese and infant formula, into occasional luxuries. Speciality cheeses, where there are currently limited options for production, may become very scarce," Mr Amirahmadi predicted.
While a no-deal Brexit could represent an expansion opportunity for UK-based dairy processors, Mr Amirahmadi cautioned that Britain would struggle to fill the supply shortfall for at least three to four years.
Ireland is a major supplier of dairy produce to Britain, with butter, powders and various cheddar cheese brands accounting for the bulk of the exports.