Prior to the referendum results, us a plenty were wondering what would happen to our economy and society if Brexit became a reality. Would the UK cloud over with stormy skies? Would our streets be plagued with disease, post-apocalyptic demeanour, and an air comparable to the great smog? Well it’s been over a week since the UK voted to leave the EU and so far, nothing of the sort has materialised. Since the Google search “What is the EU?” has risen since our referendum, many now have been actually thinking about what effect our new-found autonomy will create. My main concern (as this column is about food) is our nosh.
So, not to go into the logistics in its entirety, the food and drink industry relies heavily on the agriculture and exports around the EU. An average of a quarter of our food imports come from EU countries, which is worrying for many, and only a minimal consequence of an otherwise triumphant win for Brexiters. Our food and drink coincide with our multi-cultural society. Stripping our existing trade with other countries could potentially limit our consumption of non-European foods. So what exactly would be altered? Well, panic not, I will answer this nail-bitingly imposing question imminently (maybe)!
Most mainstream supermarkets warned that retail prices for food and drink would rise if we left the EU (despite some leave campaigners denouncing these claims). If we think about it, the possible change of free market and accessibility of trading goods would increase the price of importing goods from across the EU therefore increasing the retail price. “According to the food and drink federation, the main industry body, food and drink is the single most important player in UK manufacturing.”(SkyNews) It is the driving force behind our citizenry, we Brits love our food and drink, especially ones from around the world (seeing as our history lies in the exploitation of others, but none of that!)
Moving on to my favourite import, how would wine be affected? Both Brexiters and Bremainers seemed to focus on the conditions that shouted the loudest like immigration, nevertheless, my concern lied within the food and drink industry; would there be any imposing ramifications of Brexit on wine? Would the prices of wine be following suit of that of the food prices? Of course. Despite some of our wine imports coming from outside of the EU like New Zealand and Australia, a majority portion comes from the leading wine makers of Europe: Italy, France and Spain. So if the negotiations go to plan for Brexit, tariffs would lock down an increase in price to import our nations favourite wines, hence increasing the retail price in our supermarkets. In addition to this, if the pound loses its currency value and post-leave there are conditions of tariffs, it’s likely we’ll be seeing price increases on our wine imports and retail prices; do we have a choice? In the likelihood of our imminent leave confirmation, winos could be in utter turmoil, let us red stained lipped folk come together, stand in unity and buy in bulk wine from other countries before our meaningless passports prevent us from doing what we do best, take.
(Note: There might not be any effect for a while due to the fact that despite Article 50 being in place, countries within the EU can follow this article however do not have the right to implore so ‘tis just a waiting game.)