The price of cheese, butter and yoghurt could rocket after the UK leaves the EU, due to our dependence on imported dairy products, says a new report.
Research carried out by the London School of Economics (LSE) found that the smallest delay in the journey from EU farms to UK table can increase prices of these everyday products significantly.
The report (which was commissioned by the company behind popular brands such as Lurpak, Anchor and Arla) also found that speciality cheeses could become scarce after Brexit, no matter the outcome of the exit negotiations.
Even the availability of baby formula could be affected by shortages when the supply chain is disrupted.
Extra costs, no matter the Brexit outcome
Britain does not currently produce enough milk to keep up with demand, meaning that the country relies heavily on countries like Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium and Denmark for everyday items such as cheddar cheese and butter.
It is possible that high tariffs will be added to the cost of imported food items after the UK leaves the EU, leaving former trade agreements behind. Even without tariffs, imports could face costly delays at Dover, say the LSE.
It estimated that every seven-minute delay at a port will add a minimum of £111 extra per container because of extra labour costs. On top of this, sourcing the necessary paperwork could add €48 (£45) to the bill and veterinary controls costing a further £50.60 per consignment.
“Fuel costs, lorry maintenance, loss of perishable goods shelf life and increased wages of lorry divers, mean the above figures [are] at the lower end of the likely range,” said the LSE.
While Brexit may bring with it the opportunity to expand the UK’s dairy industry, experts advise that it would be a years-long process.