The call comes after the British Retail Consortium (BRC) published a report calling for food imports to be made a priority in Brexit negotiations.
The BRC said it was the essential that the Government negotiate a tariff-free trade deal to avoid increases in food prices. It said it was critical that it takes action because retailers directly import £5bn worth of food products and indirectly import £15bn worth through wholesalers and manufacturers.
Beverages, fruit, vegetables, meat and fish were highlighted as the UK’s biggest imports from the EU.
It predicted that without continuation of tariff-free trade, additional costs could be as high as 46% for cheese and 21% for tomatoes.
BBPA public affairs director David Wilson said: “Brexit should not add to inflationary cost pressures already being felt by pubs. The imposition of additional tariffs on food imports and raw materials like barley on our supply chain will be strongly opposed by brewers and pub operators alike.”
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Ensuring the journey ahead is positive for both retailers and consumers requires an orderly and sequenced Brexit process. The first step is to mitigate the risks by securing the continuation of tariff-free trade with the EU, to avoid further upward pressure on food prices.”
In February, speaking at the MA500 event in Birmingham, MCA executive director Simon Stenning said food-led pubs were in the best position to weather the storm of Brexit-induced price rises and reduced consumer confidence caused by political instability. He said pubs had continued to hold consumer confidence and would see growth in the year ahead.
In the same month, purchasing specialists Beacon said food companies issued a record of price rise notifications, citing Britain’s exit from the European Union as a major cause.
It reported a 267% growth in price rise notifications from September to January compared with the previous year.