Did someone say chocolate? Brexit food price hikes

2016 – what a year! First the death of David Bowie, then the end of Bake Off on the BBC, and of course, how could anyone forget one of the biggest shocks to the UK economy, Brexit.

On the 23rd of June, in a country-wide referendum, 52% of British citizens voted to leave the EU. This week, Theresa May won the Commons support to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union.  Consequently, the UK is expected to withdraw from the politico-economic union of 28 member states that has been in motion since 1958 by 31st March 2017.

Albeit now decided that we are definitely leaving the EU, there is still speculation about what the future holds. With no forecasters seemingly able to predict what state the United Kingdom will find itself in, the Food + Drink team have done some digging of their own. Our daily media scans spot a new story coming out almost every day about Brexit food price hikes, ranging from marmite to £3 meal deals.

In the plethora of doomsday predictions, we’ve summed up the top three Brexit food price hike rumours so you can fully stock up the fridge:


  1. Chocolate, cheese and wine – the three best words in the English language and probably the only food items I’d take with me to a desert island! Nick Clegg caused a bit of a social media frenzy mid-October when he warned that this “triple whammy” would come into effect if the UK left the single market. Whilst Brexiteers accused him of scaremongering, Mr Clegg said only a “soft” Brexit, could avoid tariffs on chocolate exports at 38 per cent, cheese at 40 per cent and wine at 14 per cent. Watch this space.
  1. The £3 meal deal – who doesn’t sometimes crave a BLT, packet of walkers and bottle of supermarket own-brand orange juice? Anyone? Well the British Sandwich & Food to Go Association (BSA) have warned that the higher prices for sandwich ingredients could lead to either bursting through the £3 limit, or resorting to using cheaper produce. Following the Sainsbury’s social media backlash after it removed certain upmarket sandwiches from its meal deal range this year, this could lead a lot of Brexiteers to regret their voting decision.
  1. Bacon – you thought I’d already hurt you enough with cheese & wine? Think again. With currently around half of the bacon in the UK being imported from pork producers in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, Rabobank (the Dutch multinational banking & financial services) has warned that Brexit could lead to the cost of imported meat to rise.  With the Brexit result being described as “completely unimaginable” for foreign importers, some leave supporters say that Brexit could lead to a rise in mergers & acquisitions. Consequently UK meat firms may look more attractive to non-UK buyers and create a boost to our economy.


No matter how you voted in June 2016, what is clear is that no one can predict how the UK food + drink industry will be affected. In the meantime, be warned that chocolate, cheese, wine, bacon and supermarket own-brand sandwiches prices may rise – so start stocking up now.  

By Catherine Humphrey 

H+K Admin

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search