Fast food chain Subway warns it is facing shortage of ‘carrots, eggs and cheese’ because of disruption in supply line since Brexit transition ended
- Ingredients missing from some branches include carrots, eggs and cheese
- A notice displayed in some branches blamed the shortage on ‘impact of Brexit’
- Subway said signs had been displayed in error and asked staff to remove them
Branches of Subway, the sandwich chain, are facing shortages of fresh ingredients due to the ‘impact of Brexit’.
Ingredients likely to be missing from sandwiches include carrots, eggs and cheese, with shops in Brentwood, Essex; St Helens, Merseyside; and Stoke-on-Trent all missing fillings, The Times reports.
A notice displayed on the doors of the shops listed above read: ‘Due to the impact that Brexit is having on [the] supply of food, some of our fresh ingredients may not be available today.’
Branches of Subway, the sandwich chain, are facing shortages of fresh ingredients due to the ‘impact of Brexit’
The sign was reportedly sent to all franchises by the chain’s British headquarters ahead of the new year, in anticipation of delivery delays caused by Brexit bureaucracy.
One shop owner told The Times that they had been struggling to make sandwiches without carrots, eggs and cheese since Brexit at the start of the year, stating ‘We can’t do anything on the breakfast menu.’
How delays at the border are hitting food deliveries
There are more forms to fill in before lorries arrive at the Channel and other crossings following the UK’s exit from the Customs Union and Single Market.
And once they arrive at the ports, there are new checks by officials which also slow down the transport process.
For UK retailers, it means there is a slowdown in receiving stock from the EU. It takes longer for European hauliers to get here, and UK-based lorries are slowed down on the way out and then slowed down on the return trip as well.
This is leading to empty shelves and shortages of some goods for consumers.
The most immediate problems are with perishable goods – food and drink. Alcoholic drinks and staples including broccoli, tomatoes and cheese have been in short supply because they are imported from manufacturers in Europe.
The problems are similar for exporters, UK firms sending goods to be sold in Europe.
The import problem is most acute for perishable foods. Fish and shellfish that are sold to European markets are decomposing in the back of lorries because of the time taken to get across. And now the problem is affecting other, more robust foods, like meat and vegetables, which are rotting on the dockside.
Despite this Subway, which has a turnover of more than £7 billion and 43,000 outlets worldwide, said that the signs had been displayed in error and had asked staff to remove them, telling the publication they did not have any Brexit-related supply issues in the UK.
Subway uses IPC Europe, a company owned by Subway, to source ingredients from the continent.
As the Brexit transition ended on December 31 2020 McDonald’s also warned of shortages on notices displayed in branches, before later claiming the signs were put up in error.
On the posters, distributed to restaurants as a contingency measure before the post-Brexit trade deal was agreed on Christmas Eve, McDonald’s blamed ‘supply challenges following Brexit’ for lettuce and tomato that could be missing from its burgers.
The posters, spotted by Twitter users in various areas, said: ‘Due to supply challenges following Brexit, some of our menu may be unavailable or have ingredients missing; eg lettuce, tomato. Please ask a member of staff for further details.’
McDonald’s has since clarified with staff that the signs are not needed and sources say the chain is not anticipating any supply issues related to Brexit or otherwise.
The MailOnline has contacted Subway for comment.
Meanwhile smaller UK food companies have faced difficulties exporting to the EU, with one boss of a UK cheese producing company telling the BBC he was advised to set-up in Europe to avoid disruption to his EU exports.
The Department for International Trade told MailOnline it was ‘not government policy’ to advise businesses to set-up subsidiaries abroad.
However, co-founder of Macclesfield-based Cheshire Cheese Company, Simon Spurrell, was one of those who claimed he had been told to set up shop in the EU.
Mr Spurrell reportedly approached the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for advice over the need for a veterinary-approved health certificates for exports.
The firm was reportedly being asked to pay £180 for the certificates to export gift boxes costing up to £30 each.
A notice displayed on the doors of some UK Subway shops read: ‘Due to the impact that Brexit is having on [the] supply of food, some of our fresh ingredients may not be available today.’
He told the BBC he had been advised to set up a packaging firm across the Channel.
Mr Spurrell said: ‘They told me setting up a fulfilment centre in the EU where we could pack the boxes was my only solution.’
He added that the business was now looking to ‘test the water’ with a business in France, but it had scrapped plans to build a new £1million warehouse in the UK – which he said could have created up to 30 jobs.
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