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Wednesday 22 March 2017

'Price of a loaf could rise by 10 cent after Brexit', say millers

Director general Alex Waugh
Director general Alex Waugh

You might need more dough to buy a loaf of bread, thanks to Brexit.

The UK's decision to leave the EU could put an extra 10 cent on the price of a loaf, say the milling industry.

The National Association of British and Irish Flour Millers said it would lead to job losses in the UK because Irish producers would look to source flour inside the EU.

Eighty per cent of the flour used in the Republic for baked goods and other products comes from the UK.

"If tariffs were to be introduced, the rate the EU normally charges would add eight to 10 cent to a loaf of bread," said the association's director general Alex Waugh.

"It is pretty inflationary, assuming the flour continues to come from the same source as now.

"Once you introduce a tariff, everything changes, so the likelihood is that the flour currently coming from the UK would come from somewhere else in the EU, where there would not be a tariff."

Half of the flour used by Irish bakers is milled on the island of Ireland, a significant proportion of that from Belfast, and the rest comes from England, Mr Waugh said.

The only industrial scale flour mill now operating in the Republic is at Portarlington in Co Laois.

However, if Brexit resulted in radically higher flour prices, Irish bakers and other food producers would quickly switch to alternative suppliers inside the EU to avoid those trade barriers.

In many cases, that would mean importing wheat or flour from the same countries of origin used today, without it passing through the UK.

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