Critics have previously branded talk of Brexit worries sparking stockpiling as Project Fear, but frozen-food warehouses report being fully booked for the next six months. One company with room for 80,000 pallets, Associated Cold Stores & Transport (ACST), said demand had soared following last week’s unveiling of Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal, The Guardian reports. Malcolm Johnstone, owner of Associated Cold Stores & Transport (ACST), told the newspaper: “I started getting inquiries two to three months ago, but they reached fever pitch in the last 48 hours.
“There has been a sea change since Wednesday.
He added: “I had a call the other week from a man from a Danish butter company who wanted to store 11,000 pallets of butter in the UK. We had to turn him away.
“Normally butter would dribble into the UK food chain to meet demand, but these people are worried the supply chain will be interrupted and want stocks in the market before 29 March.”
Last month, it was revealed the government had spent £75 million on cross-channel ferries to ship supplies to the UK after a no-deal Brexit.
Plans to stockpile medicines were also being put in place.
In October, Health Secretary Matt Hancock denied to the House of Commons that he was extending the period of stockpiling for medicines for the pharmaceutical industry from six weeks to 20 weeks.
But the Food Storage and Distribution Federation (FSDF), which represents 75 per cent of Britain’s commercially available frozen and chilled food warehouses in the country, told The Guardian its members’ warehouse space was “at full capacity”.
Shane Brennan, chief executive of the FSDF, told The Guardian: “It’s a problem, because food is manufactured or stored on a just-in-time basis, and the system isn’t built for stockpiling.
“But because of Brexit, every business that wants to guarantee its supply into UK shelves is looking for additional warehouse space right now.
“Our members are operating at full capacity for the period January to April and beyond. It would normally be the quietest time of the year.
“They are effectively full now. They are turning customers away.”
Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and the Port Of Tilbury London are among the FSDF’s members.
Last week, Premier Foods – which owns Bisto, Oxo and Mr Kipling – revealed it was spending up to £10 million on stockpiling supplies.