According to research by the London School of Economics, Brexit will add £210 to the average food bill for a family of four over the next two years at least.
Academics at the London School of Economics found that more paperwork and checks made food from Europe more expensive.
They said that changes to rules for items that cross the border had caused food prices to go up by 6%, or £5.84bn.
A spokesperson said the government was cutting costs and making it easier for businesses.
The research found that UK food producers have had less competition since Brexit.
The Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the LSE looked at data about the flow of trade and the prices of food between the UK and the EU to find out how shoppers were affected by the UK’s exit.
It also found that the poorest households are hurt the most by price increases because they spend more money on food.
Effects of Brexit
Their calculations tried to separate the effects of Brexit. And keep them separate from other problems in the supply chain that slowed down the pandemic.
The research found that rise in non-tariff barriers between the UK and the EU caused the rise in food prices. These barriers included new customs checks at the borders and new paperwork requirements. And bigger changes that affect how animals and plants move.
Even though the extra checks started in 2021. One of the researchers, Nikhil Datta, said that it was likely that companies made “anticipatory” changes. For example, around the “hard Brexit” that Boris Johnson, who used to be prime minister, wanted.
Mr. Datta also said that politicians and policymakers should make these non-tariff barriers their “first-order concern.”
The paper also considered the cost of setting up new systems. For example, you could hire specialized staff to handle the trade-in items that need to go through more checks.
The CEP said that between 50% and 88% of the price increases these EU exporters and UK importers saw were being passed on to customers.
Inflation touches highest level in 40 years
Richard Davies, a University of Bristol professor and one of the study’s co-authors, said, “There are many factors that affect both the demand and supply of goods and services. For example, one reason for this high inflation is that non-tariff barriers to trade with the EU have been rising.
The report said that food prices from the EU went up right after the general election in December 2019. As a result, businesses that needed goods and ingredients from the bloc began to pass the costs on to their customers.
The price increases were different for each type of product. But, generally, they were higher for things like meat and required much more paperwork and checks. On the other hand, the prices for vegetables like onions, carrots, and broccoli were lower.
The report said prices had increased for people with less money. Because they spent more of their money than they made.
It said that one good thing about Brexit was that European farmers and food producers were now less of a threat to food producers in the UK.
But it also said that shoppers lost more than £1bn, more than the money they made.