Brexit : Still Like Marmite

Last week it took the threat of a price of increase to Marmite to finally hammer home to the masses what post-Brexit Britain will look like.

Since Britain’s collective June vote to leave the European Union, the pound has fallen considerably.  When this happens, the costs of imports rises.  This cost is inevitably passed on to the customer through various other market workings.  Yes, I know that Marmite is made in Burton-Upon-Trent, but Unilever owns other multi-national brands that need covering.

As it happens, Tesco didn’t want to pass on costs to the consumer who would then go to Aldi or Lidl, so held firm and refused to by more expensive yeast extract.  Within 24 hours of the news being made public, Tesco and Unilever reached a deal and kept the prices the same.

This wasn’t before the mass hysteria from the public.  There were tweets of people stock piling Marmite and putting it on eBay.

Now, I fall on the side of the fence that doesn’t like Marmite.  This is quite strange, because I don’t think there is any other food I really can’t eat.  However, I did some market research.  A 125gm jar of Marmite from Tesco costs £1.65.  Unilever were indicating a blanket price rise of 10pc on their products which also include Lynx, Dove, Flora and the second best mayonnaise, Hellman’s.

Now, I make a two week shopping basket of those products to cost roughly £7.  I’ve assumed a jar of marmite, a jar of mayo, a few bars of soap and a can of deodorant.  A 10% price increase over the course of a year would be around £18.  Heck, let’s round it up to £20.  That also assumes you don’t buy products on promotion.

An interesting thing about the Brexit vote was the demographic of the electorate identifying as Leavers or Remainers.  Very broadly speaking, the people who voted Remain were those with greater earning potential.  Those who voted to leave were generally educated to a lower level than the those wanted to remain or were of an older age group whose primary income would be their pension.

In other words, the people most affected by the grocery price rises would be those who were eager not to have Polish people picking their vegetables out of a field at 5am on a bitterly cold winter morning while refusing to do it themselves because it didn’t pay enough for them to do so.

I still remember getting up on 24th June and turning on the news to see people saying that they voted Leave because they didn’t think it would happen, or because they didn’t want people from those famous European states of Syria and Iraq being allowed free movement to the UK, or because they thought said Polish would be removed from the country immediately.

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