No-deal Brexit will make healthy eating more expensive with price hikes on fruit and veg

Tomatoes, oranges and lettuces are among the fruit and vegetables set to face overnight price hikes if a no-deal Brexit hits, a new analysis has found.

A study by the Food Foundation found that the average family of four will have to pay an extra £65 a year just to meet its five-a-day if no agreement is signed with the EU in the coming weeks.


Products imported to the UK will be hit by tariffs without a free trade agreement, which negotiators are currently struggling to put together in time for the end of the year when current arrangements end.


Nutritionists warned that it would become "even more expensive" for people to eat healthily thanks to the rises.


Tomatoes are the fruit hit hardest with a 9 per cent price hike, while citrus fruits like oranges will become 8 per cent more expensive under a no-deal.


Lettuces will be nearly 7 per cent more expensive, while stables like onions, bananas and broccoli are also expected to increase in price.


The average increase across all fruit and vegetables is around 4 per cent, the researchers say.


Dr Paraskevi Seferidi, of Imperial College London warned that the extra impact on healthy diets "could be even larger".


"Extra costs that are not taken into account in our analysis, such as transaction costs due to border checks, could further exacerbate the estimated effect," she said.


Alan Dangour, Professor of Food and Nutrition for Global Health, at the London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "These new analyses show that under a no deal Brexit it could become even more expensive in the UK to eat a healthy diet.


"The UK is heavily reliant on fruit and vegetables from the EU and the government’s inability to define a post-Brexit deal is putting the nutritional health of the nation at risk."


Fruit and vegetables are not the only things likely to get more expensive after a no-deal. The British Retail Consortium has estimated that the total hit to consumer prices will amount to £3.1 billion.


85 per cent of food imported from the EU would be subject to a tariff of more than 5 per cent. Examples include a 48 per cent levy on beef mince, 16 per cent on cucumbers and 57 per cent on cheddar cheese.


The EU is the UK's largest trading partner by far and sources 80 per cent of Britain's imported food.


Negotiators have been struggling to sign a deal since February and have missed a self-imposed mid-November deadline to get an agreement.


Source: The Independent