Michael Gove is to be grilled by supermarket bosses over No Deal Brexit after food shortages row
- The British Retail Consortium has previously criticised Michael Gove over supply
- Bosses said no one in industry can guarantee there won’t be random shortages
- Ocado yesterday said it had switched suppliers on some fresh foods back to UK
Supermarket bosses will meet Michael Gove today for a No Deal summit in their first showdown following a row over food shortages.
The British Retail Consortium previously criticised Mr Gove after he dismissed talk of Brexit supply problems. They said his comments were ‘categorically untrue’.
A source said: ‘What the supermarkets are worried about is that two days after a No Deal Brexit, with shortages in the shops, the Government will turn round and say [stores] did not do enough to prepare.
The British Retail Consortium previously criticised Mr Gove (pictured outside Downing Street earlier this month) after he dismissed talk of Brexit supply problems. They said his comments were ‘categorically untrue’
‘Supermarkets have been clear that they can stockpile some items, but that’s not an option for imports of fresh food.’ Bosses of Waitrose, Aldi and online grocer Ocado have all said there was ‘no one in the industry who can guarantee’ there would not be random shortages.
Ocado yesterday said it had switched suppliers on a string of fresh goods from Europe back to the UK.
Last week MPs forced the Government to publish its Operation Yellowhammer contingency plans on the potential impact of a No Deal Brexit on October 31. It said the fresh food supply ‘will decrease’.
The Cabinet Office has been contacted for comment.
Bosses of Waitrose, Aldi (pictured) and online grocer Ocado have all said there was ‘no one in the industry who can guarantee’ there would not be random shortages
Brexit raspberry and mozzarella fears: Ocado bosses warn of shortages if there is a No Deal
Bosses at Ocado have warned of shortage of raspberries, mozzarella and parma ham if there is a No Deal Brexit.
Ocado’s finance chief Duncan Tatton-Brown said all food retailers would struggle to obtain fresh goods from the continent.
It has found British suppliers for some fresh products to help prevent potential shortages, but Tatton-Brown said: ‘We are all going to suffer the same on mozzarella cheese and parma ham if there is a problem getting them into the country. We can’t stock up on raspberries.’
Ocado’s finance chief warned of shortage of raspberries, mozzarella and parma ham if there is a No Deal Brexit
The Government has dismissed talk of food shortages in the event of border delays, but the Ocado comments mirror warnings by Aldi chief executive Giles Hurley about items becoming scarce.
He said products such as olive oil and chopped tomatoes can be stockpiled but added: ‘I can’t guarantee there won’t be shortages.’
Waitrose has also warned that some fresh foods might be unavailable.
The comments came as Ocado revealed its third-quarter results – the first since the retail arm became a joint venture with Marks & Spencer.
Sales continued to grow quickly, up 11.4 per cent, as bosses said the effects of a fire at its Andover depot were mostly behind the firm.
Ocado was the only grocer to record double-digit growth, although it is coming from a relatively small 1.4 per share.
The average order size fell to £105.42, but customers are buying more often.
Marks & Spencer products will be sold on the Ocado website from September 2020 at the latest.
Ocado stock rose 0.1 per cent, or 1p, to 1350.5p, while M&S fell 0.7 per cent, or 1.4p, to 204.1p.