No-deal Brexit: Almost half of Brits are stockpiling food, medicine and clothes as UK heads for the cliff edge

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
  • Nearly half the British public are stockpiling goods in their own homes to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
  • 40% of people are stockpiling things like food, medicine and clothes, according to new research.
  • Both candidates to replace Theresa May as prime minister have pledged to leave the European Union without a deal later this year if necessary.
  • Businesses have warned that there isn’t enough warehouse space to stockpile goods in the run-up to October.
  • “Within weeks it is likely that shoppers would notice significant and adverse changes to the products available and random, selective shortages,” the Food and Drink Federation told Business Insider.

LONDON – Four out of ten Brits are stockpiling items including food, medicine and clothes in preparation for the growing prospect of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal later this year.

40% of people in the UK have started stockpiling goods in fear that there will be shortages in a no-deal Brexit scenario,according to research into consumer behaviour carried out by intelligence company, Blis.

The most commonly stockpiled item is food. 56% of those Brits who are stockpiling are doing so with food items. 44% are building up supplies of household items, and well over a third (37%) are doing so with medicine.

The public is even stockpiling clothing. Over a quarter of Brits (28%) have bought extra clothes and shoes to prepare for shortages and higher prices in aftermath of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on October 31.

Both candidates to replace Theresa May as prime minister, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, have promised to take the UK out of the EU this year, with or without a deal, with Johnson insisting that leaving on October 31 is “do or die.”

The revelation that nearly half of British people are stockpiling goods like food and medicine in their own homes comes as British businesses ramp up preparations for a possible no-deal Brexit on October 31.

Business Insider reported earlier this year that there was an even greater risk of supermarket shelves going empty due to shortages in October, than there was in the run-up to the original Brexit deadline in March.

That’s because most of the warehouse space that companies used to stockpile goods in the run-up to March is not available in October, as it’s already booked up for the busy Christmas period when demand for goods rockets.

Reacting to the research, a spokesperson for the Food and Drink Federation warned that British people should expect certain foods to quickly run out if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on Halloween.

“A no-deal exit from the EU would be disastrous for the UK’s food and drink industry,” they told Business Insider.

“Within weeks it is likely that shoppers would notice significant and adverse changes to the products available and random, selective shortages. Limited shelf life products would face the most immediate risk.”

They said the period leading up to October was “particularly stark” as retailers already have to prepare for Christmas.

“Food and drink manufacturers face difficulty in securing frozen and chilled warehousing space or logistics capacity for stockpiling, as this is peak Christmas production and the space required is already booked,” they said.

“Manufacturers will therefore have no spare production capacity or ability to store ingredients and finished products.

“UK food imports will climb from autumn onward as fresh food stocks decline, so any no-deal disruption will have a major impact on availability.”

Jeremy Hunt foodStefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty ImagesJeremy Hunt.

The research also found that over half of Brits (55%) expect to have less disposable income as a result of Brexit.

Diane Perlman, Chief Marketing Officer at Blis, told Business Insider: “It’s a clear indicator of how British retailers are being directly impacted by the decision to leave the European Union.

“The more retailers can understand the behaviour of their customers in the real world, the better they can prepare.”

Naomi Smith, CEO of anti-Brexit group Best For Britain, told Business Insider: “Not content with the blue passport, Brexit zealots like Johnson and Hunt seem determined to bring back ration books.

“Stockpiling essentials is a far cry from the promise of a prosperous Britain.

“Britain is running out of beans – in more ways than one. That’s why we need to stop Brexit.”

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