Supporting FFL Served Here licensees in the face of Brexit

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Yesterday’s vote in the House of Commons to reject the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan leaves us all in a position of speculating ‘what next’ with regard to future trading relationships and potential impacts on food price and availability. At Food for Life, we have been planning how we can best support our brilliant licensees and now feels the right time to let you know what we’re able to do.

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, Food for Life (FFL) will provide licensees with flexibility to respond to changing supply and demand on quality produce in order to protect the existing high standards. The anticipated shift in product availability may prove difficult for Served Here licensees to comply with the FFL standards in the short-term. In this event, we will offer some flexibility to support our licensees operationally, working together to find long-term solutions.

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, or a Brexit deal scenario that results in supply chain issues, FFL Served Here proposes the following supportive actions to all licensees:

Supply shortage of ingredients

  • FFL will support all licensees where there is an evidenced shortage in supply chains. Licensees will be required to provide evidence of supply chain issues of named products. FFL will work in partnership with suppliers/distributors across the food service to remedy this; in such a situation, temporary exceptional permissions will apply. The detail of which standards/products this would affect remains unknown at present. Exceptional permissions are overseen by the FFLSH standards committee and are proposed to stand for 12 months.

Increase in ingredient cost

  • There will be no amendment to any standards based purely on a price increase. Our standards are driven by increasing welfare, sustainability and health. However, in the event that price increases affect supply, we will implement exceptional permissions, again with a request for evidence from licensees.

Lower food standards

  • The Soil Association has a strong policy and influencing team who regularly consult with DEFRA, amongst other statutory bodies, to protect food standards and to ensure FFLSH and Green Kitchen Standards (GKS) are formally recognised as key to providing healthy, sustainable meals in all sectors. Positive feedback from DEFRA about the quality and certainty that FFL Served Here provides for caterers and the end consumer is of paramount importance and we are working hard to ensure this receives formal recognition through the government’s Balanced Scorecard and plan for public procurement.

Food for Life understands the pressures our licensees are under to protect quality and ethical standards for the end customer; we know that many FFL Served Here licensees are providing quality meals to communities where this is the most nutritious meal of the day, and we pledge to work with all our licensees to ensure these meals maintain the high standards the public have come to expect from our award holders.

We welcome your comments and feedback, please get in touch via catering@soilassociation.org .