• Chris King

No-Deal Brexit: Impact on Scottish Food & Drink

Updated: Aug 2, 2019

At a Glance

  • The Scottish food and drink industry has enjoyed a decade of consistent growth, empowered a strong whisky market domestically and globally and surging popularity in Scottish Gin.

  • A no deal Brexit, leading to possible fluctuations in tariffs, trade regulations, currency, and market prices for goods, is threatening to disrupt the food and drink industry.

  • With Brexit looming, It is important for companies to understand their supply chain and what knock-on effects Brexit could have on, not only their own company, but their suppliers.


It is impossible to go one single day without hearing about Brexit. That is a fact. But what is going to happen? The facts surrounding that question, seem to be thin on the ground. So, while it is not clear exactly what Brexit will do to the Scottish economy, it is clear that Scottish businesses should be prepared.

Recently released research commissioned by the Scottish government, compiled by EY, has revealed that a high number of Scottish businesses could do with a bit more preparedness. Of the 68 respondent companies to EY’s survey, only 8% felt fully prepared for Brexit. On the opposite end, more than double the number of companies, a further 18%, reported they aren’t prepared for Brexit at all. The remaining companies, 74%, have some varying degree of preparedness for the effects of Brexit on their business. (EY, 2019)

This same EY report claims that Scottish food and drink will be one of the hardest hit industries in Scotland if a Brexit deal is not reached (no-deal Brexit). No deal is estimated to cost the food and drink industry, which is worth over £14.5 billion, over £2 billion in lost sales per year due to 70% of Scottish food exports being accounted for by the EU. (Fortune, 2019)


What can businesses in the food and drink industry do to mitigate the effects of Brexit? We have identified the following key questions that can help your business plan for potential disruption.

What are the significant risks and impacts of Brexit that may alter your ability to deliver goods or services?

  • Does your business continuity plan include these risks and impacts?

  • Who are the key stakeholders?

Are any of your workforce from the EU?

  • Are there training or recruitment schemes that will support your workforce going forward?

  • Will any of your workforce be leaving the UK after Brexit?

How is your supply chain impacted by the EU?

  • Do any of your customers or suppliers conduct business with the EU?

  • Could this impact their ability to buy goods or services from you?

  • Could this impact their ability to supply goods or services

  • What processes and procedures may need to be amended as a result of Brexit?

Even though Brexit remains a relative uncertainty in every sense of the word, asking yourself key questions about your suppliers and workforce will help your company to continue to produce products and / or services with minimal disruption.

Contact Strathearn Strategic Consulting to find out more about how we can help your business grow.

+44 (0) 7913413699