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Brexit: Food Industry Implications

BrexitThe UK vote in favor of leaving the European Union (EU) sent shockwaves through the global market. Governments, business, and stock markets are struggling to come to terms with what has happened. For the food and beverage industry, the potential impact is huge: across tariffs and trade, inward investment, labor issues, as well as general sector policy and regulation.

In the United Kingdom, some on both sides of the Brexit campaign have argued that a new trade agreement with the EU and the rest of the world will need to be concluded as a matter of urgency. However, the EU institutions have pointed out that such negotiations cannot formally start prior to finalization of the process on the terms by which the UK will leave the EU. It is expected that negotiations on the terms of an exit, unprecedented in their nature, once launched, will not be easy and may take much longer than the two-year period foreseen in the EU Treaty. The specifics of any deal on how to exit the EU and how to continue trading afterwards are yet to be defined, and herald a period of prolonged uncertainty for business. A number of scenarios may unfold: Continue reading

Vanilla: From Concern, to Crisis, to Creating Solutions

Vanilla BeansThis irony exists throughout the business world—when prices are low and supply is high, no one’s thinking, “Uh-oh, this is trouble,” but they should because underlying dynamics during such a market-favorable time can frequently turn the tide. Additionally, because these influences fly under the radar and work quietly amidst the noise made over low prices, when they hit, they can hit with major consequences.

This very dynamic was set in motion for the vanilla market five years ago. Prices reached a historic low, allowing food and beverage companies that use vanilla to enjoy a stable vanilla flavor cost of goods. While everyone was “riding the wave” of low-cost vanilla, the market forces behind the scenes for what we are seeing now were building. Continue reading