Shoppers could face temporary shortages of fresh food and price hikes if the UK fails to negotiate a trade deal with the European Union, the Tesco chairman has warned.
John Allan also said that shoppers can buy items made in the UK when imported goods increase in price due to import taxes.
He told the BBC that import taxes can push up the price of brie cheese by 40% and that British shoppers are opting for cheddar instead.
Mr. Allan warned that food bills could rise by an average of 5% in the event of a no-deal scenario, with specific products likely to rise significantly more.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Thursday that he is “not concerned” about possible hikes or shortages in food prices if the government fails to negotiate a trade deal.
But Mr. Allan insisted that future rates will increase prices.
He told Bloomberg, “They will almost inevitably lead to higher prices, and I think if we go out without a deal, that’s inevitable.”
He warned that disruptions are likely to occur during the transition period that could affect the transport of certain foods and lead to empty shelves.
Mr. Allan said, “We can see a shortage of fresh food, especially short-lived fresh food.
“I think it will only be for a limited period, maybe a month or two, before we get back to normal.
“I don’t think there is any reason for a consumer to panic or panic at the moment.
“There will still be plenty to eat in the UK – perhaps there will be somewhat limited choice for a period of time.”
In addition to its supermarket competitors, Tesco has stocked long-lived items in its warehouses in preparation for a no-deal.
Last month, Sainsbury’s expressed concern that the supply of certain fish, dairy and meat products to its stores in Northern Ireland could be significantly reduced next year as a result of Brexit.