Major care home suppliers stockpiling food in case of no-deal Brexit

Care home suppliers apetito and Bidfood are stockpiling food to prepare for a possible no-deal Brexit.

The suppliers told the BBC they were holding extra inventory in case of supply chain problems if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal on March 29.

Paul Freeston, chair and CEO of apetito UK, said: “We are in a strong position. But some firms would not be able to build up big stocks. Or if they are doing fresh produce they would have to stop. A ‘Hard Brexit’ could cause them significant economic difficulties.”

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The supplier provides meals to over 450 care homes, as well as 400 hospitals and 100,000 people living at home.

Paul said apetito was spending £5m on doubling its raw materials from four to eight weeks and increasing its pre-made meals stock from five to six weeks ahead of Brexit.

He added that if supply chain disruption lasted more than three to four months the company would have “very real difficulties”.

Jim Gouldie, supply chain and technical services director of Bidfood, which supplies 4,000 care homes and 950 hospitals, said it had invested in additional warehousing to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Nadra Ahmed, chairman of the National Care Association, said most care homes were prepared for a no-deal scenario but warned of the potential of higher food prices being passed on to providers.

A government spokesperson said: “Our priority is to make sure that patients continue to receive the same high standard of care.

“We are working closely with the NHS, Defra and healthcare providers to ensure the uninterrupted supply of food and specialised nutritional products to patients, as part of our preparations for a no-deal EU Exit.”

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