'We can't let people starve': Grocers on feared Brexit food shortages

Luke Coathup, owner of The Green Grocers in Norwich’s Earlham House shops. Picture: Archant

Luke Coathup, owner of The Green Grocers in Norwich’s Earlham House shops. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Green grocers in Norfolk are already facing supply issues as a result of Brexit.

But they admit the government's emergency plans to fast-track food to the supermarkets if the disruption continues is to be expected. 

It has been revealed that officials are working on plans to fast-track food produce lorries through the new border control systems with the EU. 

One in ten lorries are reportedly stuck at the border, prompting fears that food will begin disappearing from shelves as has been previously warned by the likes of Sainsburys. 

But although the question of who should have access to food is "ethically dangerous", it is "to be expected", said an independent green grocer in Norwich. 


You may also want to watch:


"The question of who should have access to food is an ethical one but I think the government have had to make a decision about where it should go so the most people can get their hands on it, so I think giving it to the supermarkets is expected" said Luke Coathup of the Green Grocers in Earlham Road, Norwich. 

And Brendan Read of Mike, Debs and Sons, a grocer on the Norwich market, added: "The supermarkets have the power to get this produce to the most people so it makes sense. Business is important but at the end of the day we can't let people starve and this is simplest way to prevent that." 

Norwich Market is mostly open which is fantastic news for food lovers like Andy Newman. Pictured are

Norwich Market is mostly open which is fantastic news for food lovers like Andy Newman. Pictured are James and Brendan on Mike, Debs and Sons fruit and veg stall Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Most Read

Both businesses have seen supply-side issues as a result of Brexit as wholesalers scramble for stock.

The issues have centred around non-seasonal stock like salads, citrus fruit and items like peaches and nectarines. 

Mr Coathup said: "I have had a couple of orders in the past few weeks which have been cancelled because they've been in transit for too long and have gone bad.

"There's not a lot we can do apart from keep our customers informed and let them know when items are back in stock. 

And Mr Read added: "Our issues have more been as a result of the snow in Spain. Because we get a lot of our produce from there and it's been unable to get through we've been relying on stock from Holland which has all rocketed in price because they have the entire share of the market."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus