No more avocado toast or banana smoothies, and forget about shaving fresh Parmesan on your pasta. Instead, get used to milk at every meal, bread for days, lamb chops, and peas. Lots and lots of peas.
Home-grown meals more akin to an industrial-age diet are what Britons could be eating if the U.K. leaves the European Union without a deal that sets up basic trading relations with other countries. The U.K. relies heavily on imports and has been such a hotbed of agricultural trade for centuries that it’s easy to forget what the British palate would look like in a world where food trade grinds to a halt.
It’s hard to predict what could happen at this stage: Parliament now has the opportunity to avoid “no-deal,” or at least postpone it. While it’s highly unlikely that food imports would completely cease if the U.K. crashed out of the bloc without a deal, grocery stores and farmers are preparing for the worst. If that were to happen: There’d at least be plenty of meat and potatoes, but forget “five-a-day” fruit and vegetables. And with months until U.K. harvests, traditional Sunday roast dinners would be light on the trimmings for a while.
“We’ll have food, but the supply chains and logistics would need to handle a major change,” said Sue Pritchard, director at the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission at the Royal Society of Arts. “Maybe we’ll need to revive the British tradition of a good meat and three veg roast!”
The nation produces about 60 percent of its own food, so a lot of popular products would, hypothetically, be unavailable. We took a look at what supermarket shelves would look like in a world without trade.
A Gallon Per Person
Brits would be swimming in milk. U.K. cows produce enough for about a gallon per person each week, providing plenty for breakfast cereal or dessert trifles. Egg supplies are also largely domestic.But other familiar products could disappear, such as Irish butter or cheddar. Farmers in Northern Ireland wouldn’t be able to send milk across the border for processing, and cheese fans should bid farewell to French brie and Italian Parmesan.