Mahjouri warned that company costs could double if it has to keep paying for extra lorry drivers who are made to hold items in vehicles queuing at the border, and he warned that everyday, low-cost items and convenience meals could become a “luxury” if those costs are passed down to customers.
“Food shortages will be something everybody will be noticing from the first week. Supermarket shelves will start to get empty after a week,” he said.
“Supermarkets will bring airfreight [from further afield than the EU] but what you’re paying today for a kilo of tomato, say £1, you will end up paying £3 a kilo because you’re paying for air freight and you’re paying for very heavy prices coming from different continents, which they will take advantage of the desperation of the UK market.”
He added: “The business we are in now, we rely heavily on Europe, particularly Spain in winter and Italy, and during the summer we rely heavily on Holland for fresh produce.
“I am only concerned about how we get our product and our goods coming to us without having any knock-on effect. Perishable goods cannot wait a day or two on the border.
“Lorries standing in a queue on the border means we expect a three-day arrival to the UK expands to six or seven days, and we’re going to be hugely concerned about the state of the goods arriving to us.”
The past two years has seen a raft of companies giving no-deal Brexit warnings, from potential plant closures at Airbus, to the possibility that holidaymakers will be hit as travel insurance companies fail to guarantee payouts in a no-deal scenario.
Government data shows nearly one-third of food consumed in the UK originates from the EU – significantly more than the 19% combined from Africa, North America, South America, Asia, the rest Europe, and Australasia.