The future has always been full of opportunities and challenges. The result of the UK’s referendum on leaving the EU brings a lot of unknowns just like any other event. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty runs to 260 words and the key part of it states:
“the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.”
For the convenience store channel and their customers, the question of food supply, the impact of leaving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and in smaller part the Common Fisheries Policy are likely to be most important. The UK’s food supply chain is a vast international enterprise into which the EU regulations are deeply embedded.
Unpicking these regulations and replacing them with a new set of rules is going to be an important part of our new future. After all, consumers will not want to see their lives impacted by higher prices, and poorer quality of the product that they are offered. As retailers are on the front line in the food supply chain they and their trade organisations, will need to lobby the new Government on this.
Both the NFRN and ACS seem to be focusing on the peripheral regulations as ACS chief executive James Lowman illustrates with this comment: “There are many European regulations that affect convenience store retailers, from rules on waste and energy efficiency to the tobacco products directive.”
Convenience stores have changed hugely since Bob Sperring launched the concept in the UK in the 1970’s. The opportunities that come with change (and the next decade will bring big change) will favour the entrepreneurs who understand and grasp them. Food is an important category for the channel, so getting the right policies for UK agriculture to replace the CAP will be key to a successful future.