Patrick Coveney, CEO of Greencore, has said that UK shoppers are going to have a hard time buying good fruit and vegetables all year round without “very pragmatic” arrangements post-Brexit.
According to the Irish Times, the CEO, who spends a lot of his time in the US, was speaking at a conference on Brexit’s impact on the agri-food sector - which also including Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia, and Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.
Coveney, however, warned that Brexit would be “catastrophic” for a number of Irish businesses if it does “unfold as badly as it could”.
'A Truly Bad Deal'
“This idea that no deal is better than a bad deal - well, no deal is a truly bad deal,” Coveney told the British Irish Chamber of Commerce conference in Dublin.
He brought up concerns about the possible impact on supply chains, logistical centres, and customs checks.
“It would take decades to put all that in place in an efficient way so we are more concerned about the near-term impact of that,” he said.
“The UK retailers are very concerned about that. British consumers are used to being able to buy fruit and vegetables, in particular, all year round. Frankly, absent some very pragmatic interpretations of a transition agreement, that is going to be a huge problem from next March.”
He reaffirmed that he was less concerned about potential tariffs as much as he was about “getting fresh food in and out of the UK”.
Also speaking at the event, Minister Creed said that he believed that a “no-deal is the worst possible deal for the agri-food sector both in Ireland and in the UK”.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.