The Fresh Produce Consortium has consulted widely with it’s members since the publication of the Draft TOM in early April 2023. Our trade association has held four industry events and received several calls to discuss the content and implications of the draft.
The fresh produce industry (including plants, flowers, fruit and veg) contributes approximately £25billion to the national economy and the agri-food sector is one of the countries largest employers. The majority of our food and flowers are sourced from overseas to ensure consumer choice in a multi-cultural nation. In recent months there has been media coverage relating to UK shortages of key products such a cucumbers and tomatoes, raising concerns of food security which require a balance of both imported and home grown supply. It is not possible to replace many imported flowers, fruit and vegetables with UK production alone.
The UK source from approx. 100 countries around the world, much of which arrives in the UK via the EU, directly or indirectly. As an example, most cut flowers originating from around the world will be sourced via Holland (approx. £2bn).
The overall feedback centres on the lack of clarity and detail within the draft Target Operating Model document, as well as the anticipated additional costs, delay and disruption for their perishable goods. This will materially contribute towards consumer inflation, business on-costs, food waste, and carbon emissions.
There is also a key concern that additional administrative requirements may restrict or deter European trade. The concerns are especially true for SME’s who feel they may be disproportionately affected by the substantial additional administrative costs of trade to supply their customers.
Members can read the full Consultation Response here:
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