Brexit cans illicit soft drinks and alcohol market

Brands seeing reductions in grey stock include Danone, Red Bull and Britvic

Brexit newspapers

The volume of grey-market and illicit soft drinks and alcohol coming into the UK from mainland Europe has decreased due to Brexit.

‘Grey’ stock refers to products that may be counterfeit, have avoided regulatory checks or have not had the appropriate taxes applied to them.

Wholesalers told Better Retailing increased border controls following the UK’s departure from the European Union had hampered illicit import attempts.

Brexit hits availability in wholesale and stores

Parfetts joint managing director Greg Suszczenia said: “We’re seeing a dry-up of grey stock such as Polish or super-strength beers.

“There’s administration all over [Brexit] at the moment. All the trucks at the ports are getting stopped and checked right now, making it very hard for illicit traders.”

Confex managing director Tom Gittins said: “There was always lots of grey stock, and that has gone down because of Brexit. It’s more expensive due to increased tariffs.”

Brexit tariff advantage for supermarkets

Gittins added brands that have seen reductions in grey stock include Danone, Red Bull and Britvic.

Of PayPoint’s top-100 convenience products sold between November 2019 and July 2020, 21% were from soft drinks and alcohol brands who imported from Europe.

The FWD added further grey imports could be discouraged as “the complexity and cost of importing will increase”.

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