Aldi has asked its food suppliers to begin contingency planning in case the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal.
According to The Sunday Times, the UK division of the German discount grocer emailed suppliers last month to say it wanted to work with them “to help understand the potential implications” and to “mitigate any negative impacts”.
The email reportedly included a spreadsheet in which suppliers were asked 15 questions, including breakdowns of any ingredients and packaging materials sourced from the EU, the percentage of EU staff they employed, and the implications of World Trade Organisation tariffs for their products.
The news comes after EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier expressed doubt over Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to keep UK inside the EU’s customs system for goods, and to have restricted access to the single market.
Brexit secretary Dominic Raab also admitted last week that the government was taking steps to ensure that there were “adequate” supplies for the UK in the event of a no-deal departure from the EU, which is slated for March next year.
Additionally, he sparked criticism from the British Consortium over his suggestion that grocers should be stockpiling food in the event of a “no deal” Brexit.
Aldi has not publicly commented on the matter yet.
The German retailer is not the only one to show signs of worry ahead of Brexit.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe has issued a warning regarding the impact of customs delays, while Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis warned that tariffs – which could be levied in the event of a no-deal Brexit – would see everyday prices rise.
Meanwhile, Asda chief executive Roger Burnley warned that a hard Brexit could leave food rotting at the border and have severe financial implications for the grocery sector.