What's The Beef With Brexit?
By now, we have all got used to the idea of Brexit, or “The B-Word”. I have no doubt that this is not the first article you’ve read that touches on the topic and it will certainly not be the last.
However, if you’re a die-hard steak fan, it may be the most important.
What does Brexit mean for your favourite cut of beef? Don’t be panicked by the tabloid penny rags claiming that purchasing a steak in post-Brexit Britain will require a re-mortgage. Yes, the news for imported steak right now could certainly be better but it is definitely not all doom and gloom. We have some good news to share at least!
Before we go into that, let's give ourselves a little refresher. In a pre-Brexit world, we were able to import the finest steaks directly from suppliers in Europe and America under existing trade deals brokered by the EU that the UK was automatically included in. By buying directly at reasonable prices made possible by the EU deals, we were able to provide outstanding quality steaks to our customers at a price that wouldn’t break the bank as well as being able to support our suppliers with continued custom.
As I’m sure you know by now, January 1st ushered in a new trading landscape with all of the advantages and drawbacks that come with such a historic shakeup of the status quo. As it stands, we have trade agreements with big steak producing countries and territories such as Europe, Canada, and Japan. At the time of writing, deals between other beef juggernauts such as Australia with its Wagyu and, of course, the USA with its USDA prime grade steaks are being hashed out. However, these deals are not expected to be anywhere near a tangible implementation stage for another 2-3 years.
So if we’ve managed to secure a deal with the EU and other such entities then surely everything will be fine in the long run? Well, yes and no. We have secured a trade deal with the EU Single Market that has allowed us to avoid exiting under WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules that would have imposed instant tariffs and quotas that could have spelled disaster for the world of steak. This would have been particularly harmful to the Txuleta steak that is reared in Spain.
While we have avoided the tariffs and quotas. What we haven’t avoided is the huge increase of paperwork, checks, logistical red tape, and increased costs of meeting these new parameters. You’ve heard of ham sandwiches being seized at the borders? That is the least of the concerns, unfortunately.
We’ll use the Spanish steak products as an example to briefly illustrate how some of these costs are impacting the industry on a wider scale. Under the new guidelines, there would need to be a vet appointed to check and regulate the steak produced, this costs £300 as a broad average. On top of that, you have new customs regulations and paperwork that needs to be arranged costing approximately £80. If that wasn’t bad enough, there is currently a disastrous 5 day holding period at customs for fresh food products.
As you can imagine, this is all less than ideal for any company that imports quality steak and, as much as we try, there is so only so much of that cost that can be absorbed by retailers.
We expect the prices of imported steaks such as the Wagyu, the USDA beef, and the famous Txuleta to rise by between 20-25% to accommodate the new costs involved with supplying these items.
Raising the prices of our imported steaks was never going to be an easy decision to make, we pride ourselves on supplying quality steak at affordable prices and while the prices aren’t going to be going up to the levels some tabloids will have you believe, we understand that a price increase of any kind is going to affect our customers.
The fairest thing to do in this situation is to give you the full reasons why we have had to make this decision and reassure you that we will work tirelessly to provide quality steaks to our customers at good prices while the UK government tries to get these deals in place.
Just before we go, let's not leave on a sour note, remember we said about having good news to share?
Brexit was not an unexpected event and these outcomes, while unfortunate, were not unexpected either. We foresaw the impact it would have on the prices of quality beef coming into this country and thankfully we were in a position to preempt and try to mitigate its effects on our customers as best we could.
I am pleased to say that The Steak Shop has pulled out all the stops and we have filled our storerooms with beef unaffected by the new barricades and therefore unaffected by the subsequent price increases.
At a conservative estimate, we have 4-5 weeks worth of stock remaining that we are able to pass on to our customers at a pre-Brexit price point. There really has never been a better time in recent memory to stock your freezers and storerooms with the finest imported steaks available.
Head over to www.thesteakshop.co.uk right now take advantage of the temporary pricing. As we say, 4-5 weeks' worth of stock is a conservative estimate and will no doubt be reduced when the demand skyrockets. Once this stock is gone the prices will increase so don’t delay, get your steak fix today!