Fruit & Vegetable Brexit Update – Total Produce


I would like to take this opportunity to write to you and explain what Total Produce Foodservice see as the possible disruptions caused by Brexit for our supply to your business and what we are doing to minimise these effects. It is also possible that Brexit will occur without major disruption to the supply chain but we feel that it is prudent to plan for disruption so we are as prepared as possible.

Around 52% of all the UK’s fresh produce is imported from the EU and due to the perishable nature of the product the majority of these imports are not stored and enter the supply chain immediately meaning that any disruption to the flow of product across the channel has an immediate impact on availability. 

Total Produce Foodservice is working on a number of projects to reduce the possible impact of border restrictions:

  • Our import companies have applied for Authorised Economic Operator Status, this is an audited standard which demonstrates that a company follows best practice in importing procedures and allows the holder to speed up border checks. 

  • We are working to change the routes which we use to import produce so, for example, sea freighting product from Spain and Morocco instead of road freight as the channel ports are expected to be much more congested for road freight than sea freight. Also, air freight imports from outside the EU are often routed through initial destinations in Europe and so we will be working to have these shipments landed in the UK directly.

  • Total Produce Foodservice have a very wide supply base, we trade with dozens of importers which will allow us to access product even if one supplier has had product delayed at the border.

  • Total Produce Foodservice has a very large UK grower base which we will be able to access to secure more product which is not imported from the EU. We will work with our customers to communicate seasonality and which products would be best to plan onto menus in order to avoid product which could be delayed at the border.

  • Whilst many products are too perishable to store, Total Produce Foodservice will ensure it is holding additional stock of products from our non-produce range to ensure orders are fulfilled.

If Brexit causes the UK to move on WTO rules this may well lead to tariffs on certain goods, in this case, we will work with and communicate with customers to explain the situation and suggest options of products which are free from tariffs and may represent better value.

The broad impact of Brexit remain very unclear but I would like to reassure you that Total Produce Foodservice is working to minimise any impacts in terms of price and availability to our customers. 

Richard Clements, Foodservice Operations Director U.K.