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Home/Greencore to stockpile in UK in the event of a hard Brexit

Greencore to stockpile in UK in the event of a hard Brexit

Greencore will stockpile ingredients in the UK in the event of a hard Brexit that could hit supply lines

Greencore is ready to stockpile ingredients in the UK and change recipes in the event of a hard Brexit that could hit supply lines, according to UK managing director Peter Hayden.

Group CEO Patrick Coveney has also said that the world's biggest sandwich-maker might initiate some supply line changes before Christmas as uncertainty prevails about whether UK Prime Minister Theresa May will be able to get her Brexit plan past Parliament next week.

Greencore has contracts with a number of major supermarket chains such as Marks & Spencer, and with other customers in the UK.

It imports about 20pc of the raw materials it uses to make its products.

Patrick said those materials come from both the EU and further afield, and include packaging items as well as ingredients such as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber.

He said the focus area will be about securing the relatively small portion of the ingredients that they use that they get from outside the UK, in a no-deal scenario. They see the biggest risk area being fresh produce.

He said a lot of the contingency planning processes ... are to manage their way through potential challenges around the availability of fresh produce.

Greencore, whose primary geographic focus is now the UK after selling its US arm this year, makes about 1.5bn sandwiches and food-to-go items like salads every year.

Patrick said Greencore has a very measured timetable in terms of when it will make decisions regarding the implementation of alternative supply lines.

He said there will be some areas, frankly, where they choose to make some decisions to reduce risk this side of Christmas, but in others they will make them closer to the time.

There have been dire predictions about the impact of a hard Brexit on the UK's economy.

Patrick said Greencore would be resilient in the face of an economic downturn, having endured such scenarios in the past.

He said they are concerned, but what they have tried to separate is the Greencore-specific impact from the overall economic impact. Based on history, these products are pretty resilient to economic circumstances.