In not-so-breaking news, this week Theresa May triggered Article 50 and in doing so, ushered Britain head first into Brexit negotiations.
For months, every industry in the UK has been pondering Brexit’s impact; how will it affect international travel, for example, or what will the impact be on the pound? All jokes aside, we’re in for an interesting couple of years and one of the most talked about topics is the housing market. As the FT reports, analysis by Google shows that property concerns are rampant with searches prefaced with “How will Brexit affect…” followed by “house prices”, rather than “the economy” or “immigration”. So, what are the experts saying for homeowners and house hunters?
The Evening Standard’s Homes & Property recently enlisted a team of professionals to share their thoughts and they collectively had quite a sunny outlook, forecasting a more stable property market, a rise in house sales and no rise in interest rates. However some of these predictions were based on historical patterns and this is one milestone the UK has not yet faced. Zoopla’s founder, Alex Chesterman, speaking to the Express says that purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions we make and so naturally there’s a lull in sales during “times of uncertainty”, meanwhile The Telegraph tells us that it all depends on the UK’s economic health, which is “difficult to forecast”.
While these opinions are all interesting takes, they lead us to the same conclusion: it’s still too soon to tell. It’s a frustrating outcome but one we’ll probably have to get used to for the next two years. At least we can rest assured that we’re all under the same roof.
This month we held our second Lucre Group Ideas & Insight session looking at the Food & Drink sector. The title was Provenance vs Price: The Future of British Food Post-Brexit. A very relevant topic in the current uncertainty of whether Brexit will be an opportunity or a challenge for food manufacturers, retailers and ultimately, customers.
We held the event in the stunning setting of the National Association of British and Irish Millers which backs onto Green Park in central London and has the Ritz as its neighbour. We invited a host of food industry experts from a variety of businesses, including Iceland, British Pepper & Spice, Sacla, Hellmans, Trealy Farm Charcuterie, Yorkshire Farmhouse Eggs and the Quality Food Awards.
They all came to listen to four speakers who looked at different angles to the British food debate.
Margaret McSorley Walker, a food trends consultant for major FMCG brands and supermarkets including Asda and M&S, talked through emerging British food trends from butter and seaweed to quark and cold-smoked chocolate. We had a personal tasting session from James Swift of his award-winning British Trealy Farm Charcuterie. We were inspired by Fraser Doherty’s story on how he set up SuperJam when he was just 16-years-old and looked at the hard realities of shopper behaviour and retailer strategies from retail commentator, Bryan Roberts.
The consensus was that British food is living through an increasingly interesting, exciting and challenging time. Brexit could offer some opportunities for British food manufacturers as it becomes cheaper to source home-grown products but it’s important to always keep a close eye on costs and pricing. British customers like the idea of British-made food but the weekly shopping bill is still tightly controlled, and shoppers won’t tolerate large hikes in prices.
All in all, it was a fascinating look at the issues surrounding British food and the likely impact of Brexit which is causing a lot of uncertainty, but one thing is certain…we have some brilliant food producers in the UK both big and small, and we should be doing everything we can to celebrate them.
You can see some highlights of the event in this video.