Delays, paperwork and additional costs are making British chocolate scarce in Europe
“We’ve lost our entire European trade,” said Aneesh Popat, the owner of The Chocolatier, which sells dark chocolate salted caramel water ganache Easter eggs and other treats out of Bedfordshire, about 80km (50 miles) north of London. “Worse than that, we’ve lost our reputation, because when we send palettes of chocolate to, say, Germany and it disappears or we can’t track it, our customers don’t blame the courier. They blame us.”
The trade deal struck late last year with the European Union spared Britain from a variety of tariffs that would have inflated the prices of goods that travelled to the mainland. It has not saved British companies from a maddening, unpredictable array of time-consuming, morale-sapping procedures and from stacks of paperwork that have turned exporting to the EU into a sort of black-box mystery.
Chocolate is the UK’s second-largest food and drink export
Chocolate is the UK’s second-largest food and drink export, after whiskey, according to the Food and Drink Federation. Chocolate exports to all countries hit $1.1 billion last year, and Europe accounts for about 70 per cent of those sales. In January, exports of British chocolate to Europe fell 68 per cent compared with the same period the year before.