2020 has been challenging to say the least, and with lorries currently stuck and not able to travel over to France, it feels like Brexit has come early. Our wholesale suppliers are currently reporting deliveries being delayed this week.
As we brace ourselves for the new year, with this blog post, we’re not trying to wade into the debate of “Brexit or no Brexit”, but deal with the practical implications we are likely to face in 2021.
Things we could see:
- Lack of availability of produce from outside the UK due to delays at ports (all of our non-UK produce for our fruit and veg boxes are imported via ferry and never airfreight)
- Produce coming from Europe takes longer to get to us and is therefore less fresh and may not last as long
- The [edit: former] Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, predicted food price rises of between 6 and 10% due to currency fluctuations, new tariffs and delays at ports
- Our fruit boxes are more at risk of being impacted due to our reliance on produce from Europe during winter (think Spanish citrus season). You may see smaller fruit boxes if there significant price increases, or we may have to consider price rises.
On top of all this, we’re also seeing UK Organic farms running out of their produce faster than ever before due to the surge in demand since March as Organic Fruit and Veg box schemes have significantly grown in popularity across the UK. Unable to magic crops out of thin air and react to this sudden increase, some of our growers are finishing crops way earlier than they normally would. With some fields now empty when normally they’d still be harvesting throughout January.
Our suppliers are working as hard as they possibly can, within all the uncertainty, to make plans to avoid any availability issues of produce. We will be ordering as far in advance as we possibly can, in order (we hope) to avoid any gridlocks at the ports. You can help us by making sure your orders for the new year are ready as far in advance as possible.
We will be keeping you updated with regards to price of produce once we start seeing changes.
On a slightly lighter note, 2020 has seen a record surge in demand for UK Organic fruit and veg and at Regather we have seen that demand continue throughout the year, rather than die out after Lockdown 1.0. We are investing in our own ability to grow produce in Sheffield with 3 more polytunnels currently under construction. Our aim is to double the amount of produce from our field in 2021 and with high demand we know we can’t be too ambitious. Farmers across the UK will already be laying the ground work for crops for 2021 and greater demand for Organic produce can only be a good thing.
We may have to compromise on variety in 2021 and embrace more cabbage and less red peppers; but if this year has taught us anything, we can get through it.
If you’re interested in reading more about the implications of a no deal on the world of food and farming, try here: https://www.sustainweb.org/brexit/no_deal_faqs/