The effects of Brexit on the pet industry

James Langan, Managing Director of Natures Menu, the UK and Europe’s leading expert in raw and natural pet food, discusses the effects and challenges that Brexit has posed on the pet industry, and how Natures Menu has adapted to the changes.

Brexit has caused issues and complications for many industries in the UK and the pet industry is no exception.

Many pet food brands rely on international trading, and Natures Menu has experienced huge setbacks in this area since Brexit – we’ve found it’s now easier to supply to Dubai than to Dublin! Back in April, Natures Menu had €120,000 worth of stock stranded, awaiting clearances for more than 60 days, with an additional €300,000 stuck in the Norfolk warehouse due to Brexit related barriers – which is enough product to feed almost 6,000 pets!

The pet industry has also witnessed a huge knock-on effect from the disappointing lack of feedback provided on rejected shipments. A recent Natures Menu consignment spent 30 days in Gothenburg before being eventually retuned, and the reason given when it did come back was ‘label mismatch’! Another load was returned because we had written ‘salmon’ instead of ‘fish’ on one of the forms – it really has been a time of great confusion.

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For some members of our team too this has been a difficult time. Brexit has led to labour shortages across multiple industries, and we have noticed this particularly in regard to agricultural and meat-handling work, as well as presenting additional complexities and challenges for anyone required to acquire settlement status. 

Overall, we estimate that due to Brexit we’ll lose in excess of £4 million sales YOY. As we look to the future, pet businesses should remain aware of the upcoming changes. The new import and export regulations, to be bought into action in October, represent a whole host of new risks on the horizon which must be planned for.   

It’s vital that we appreciate every milestone and accept that Brexit is a challenge for all pet food companies and indeed any business looking to export to European markets. We are all navigating a new environment.

Natures Menu recently celebrated delivering its first package to Scandinavia in six months! This was a huge milestone for us. Despite the circumstances at play, we’ve managed to find alternative routes to maintain some elements of the import and export business and our team has worked incredibly hard to make this happen.

Despite the challenges posed by Brexit, we’ve been able to keep growing the business – an achievement we’re incredibly proud of.

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