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UK’s fresh produce supply under Covid-19 and no-deal departure from the EU

LSE researchers Cesar Revoredo-Giha and Montserrat Costa-Font argue that evidence of price increases during Covid-19 indicates that a no-deal Brexit could lead to price increases. Comparing this March and April to last year’s March and April the authors show that whilst the prices of some vegetables have gone down such as potatoes and carrots, others have gone up such as tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and cauliflower. The example of tomatoes, which are 78.6% imported, is interesting: tomatoes saw a significant increase in non-EU imports in the first quarter of 2020, going from 17.4% in the first quarter of 2019 to 29.4% during the same period in 2020 – at the same time prices went up significantly (13.2% up April 2020 compared to April 2019). For fruit, small oranges have increased significantly in price (around 16%) and grapes but melons have declined in price. Food Foundation analysis here show that veg prices during Covid-19 overall have remained fairly similar year on year but that fruit prices have increased significantly compared to last year. It is clear that disruptions to the system effect prices and often, though not consistently, this leads to price increases which can have direct knock on effects to the affordability of a healthy diet

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