London • Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union next year, but it still hasn’t reached a deal on how exactly this could happen. If it leaves Europe without a deal, some experts have warned that there may be chaos at the borders and a shortage of key goods.
On Tuesday, the owner of the beloved confectionary brand Cadbury announced that the company has a plan to deal with the threat of this dreaded “no-deal” Brexit: a chocolate stockpile.
Hugh Weber, the president of Mondelez Europe, told the Times of London newspaper that while they hope British Prime Minister Theresa May can reach an agreement to allow the free flow of goods with Europe, they had a contingency plan in case no deal is reached before the March 29 deadline.
The company was "preparing for a hard Brexit and, from a buffering perspective for Mondelez, we are stocking higher levels of ingredients and finished products, although you can only do so much because of the shelf life of our products," Weber was quoted as saying.
Weber added, however, that "the UK is not self-sufficient in terms of food ingredients, so that could be a challenge."
U.S. company Mondelez has owned the Cadbury brand since 2010. Founded in Birmingham in 1824, Cadbury is perhaps the most iconic chocolate producer in Britain, known for its Dairy Milk chocolate bars, as well as other favorites such as Creme Eggs, Crunchies and the Cadbury Roses chocolate selection.
It isn't the first time the chocolatier had warned about the possible effect of Brexit on its product. Last year, Glenn Caton of Cadbury's British operations told the Guardian that the company may eventually have to pass on higher costs to customers by raising prices or selling smaller products at the same price.
Following the vote to leave the EU in 2016, the British government has consistently dismissed the possibility of a no-deal Brexit that would see the country revert to World Trade Organization rules on its borders. However, the British press has warned of a "doomsday scenario" that could result in chaos at ports and land crossings, with days-long traffic jams and other delays having a dramatic effect on trade.
With the deadline fast approaching and the government facing rifts over how to approach negotiations with Brussels, these warnings have become more urgent. Last month, it issued its first "technical notices" on how British citizens and businesses should prepare for the worst scenarios.
"Let me assure you that, contrary to one of the wilder claims, you will still be able to enjoy a BLT after Brexit, and there are no plans to deploy the army to maintain food supplies," said Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab after the advisories were released, referring to concern about the supply chain of the famous sandwich.
May reached a plan for negotiations on leaving the EU during a meeting at her official country house, called Chequers, in June. However, she has faced a backlash from members of her governing Conservative Party, who argue that the deal is too soft.
One former ally warned this week that up to 80 Conservative members of Parliament might vote against the Chequers deal, possibly provoking a “catastrophic split” in the party.