No-Deal Brexit potential causes UK cheese shortage

Owner of Kerrygold and Pilgrims Choice brands, Ornua, say they are preparing for the uncertainty that is Brexit.

The Irish dairy company behind well-known brands Kerrygold and Pilgrims Choice has started stockpiling cheddar in the UK to protect themselves against the risk of a price hike in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

World Trade Organisation tariffs on Britain’s beloved cheddar are as high as 42%, but Irish cheese manufacturers fear sales would plummet in supermarkets if the full extra cost was passed to the consumer.

Ornua, formerly called the Irish Dairy Board, confirmed they are building their stocks of cheddar within the British and Irish warehouses to ensure the product can both get to the supermarket shelves and beat any price hike in the event of a crash on March 29th.

“As the full implications of Brexit are unclear, Ornua is managing downsides and preparing for uncertainty,” explained in a statement. “As such, Ornua has increased its storage capacity in the UK to facilitate increased storage of Irish cheddar. This is to ensure a consistent and secure supply to meet the needs of Ornua’s strategic customers in the UK market.”
— Ornua - Irish Dairy Company

The damp climate and low population within Ireland means the country produces far more milk than it can drink. This has allowed Ireland to benefit greatly from the British appetite for cheese. Dried milk, ice-cream and cheese are among Ireland’s biggest exports and help to fill the British milk deficit. 90% of the 200,000 tones of cheese made in Ireland each year is cheddar. Half is exported, with half of those exports destined for the UK.

Once dairy prices recovered this year, Ornua posted record sales of £2BN!

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