Britain is fast running out of warehouse space to store frozen and chilled foods amid fears of a no deal Brexit.
In a stark warning industry leaders have revealed that the necessary storage facilities are now fully booked for the next six months at least and companies were now being turned away following an unprecedented rush in recent weeks.
Much of the demand has come from food manufacturers who are stockpiling food in the event that a no deal leads to supply chains between the UK and Europe being disrupted in March.
And this doesn’t just mean products that go directly onto the supermarket shelves like pizza or frozen vegetables as manufacturers need to guarantee a supply of things like potatoes for the production of crisps and chips.
The Food Storage and Distribution Federation (FSDF) has warned that Britain isn’t adequately prepared for stockpiling food but storage space is now fully reserved from January to April – usually the quietest time of the year.
Normally temperature-controlled warehouses are at their quietest in the months between Christmas and Easter but the fear of no-deal Brexit means they are now fully reserved in advance from January to April and beyond.
FSDF boss Shane Brennan told the Guardian: “It’s a problem, because food is manufactured or stored on a just-in-time basis, and the system isn’t built for stockpiling.
“But because of Brexit, every business that wants to guarantee its supply into UK shelves is looking for additional warehouse space right now.”
The Brexit warehouse shortage emerged as companies such as Premier Foods, which owns Bisto, Oxo and Mr Kipling and Ornua, the Irish company behind Kerrygold and many cheddar cheese brands, have announced plans for stockpiling.