How Brexit May Change What People Eat

Will Britons have to forgo citrus post-Brexit?

Robyn Metcalfe
Heated
Published in
7 min readOct 24, 2019

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While politicians argue over Brexit, regular people living in Britain wonder what foods they’ll have access to after the dust settles. Depending upon how long it takes to implement a plan for feeding Britain post-Brexit, the ingredients that become available will reflect a new food system, perhaps one in which Britons will consume more ingredients grown entirely in Britain.

How does the U.K. feed itself now?

According to the U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food, and Regulatory Affairs, 52 percent of the food that is consumed in the U.K. is produced in the U.K. About 30 percent comes from the EU, and the rest arrives in the U.K. from everywhere else. The U.K. exports high-value meats and alcoholic beverages, while it imports mostly fruit and vegetables.

Many policymakers are worried about the U.K.’s ability to feed itself in the immediate aftermath of Brexit; consumers, as well as the food industry, have begun to stockpile favorite wine and cheeses as uncertainty about the outcome of trade talks continues. A good bottle of Laphroaig will only last through the weekend; what remains for weekday meals could be sparse until the food system leverages technologies such as indoor farming.

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Robyn Metcalfe
Heated
Writer for

Writer, Producer, Historian, Creative. Fascinated by how we feed cities. Order my new book, Humans in Our Food: https://humansinourfood.com