You can read our feature on the impact of Brexit on the food & drink industry here.

In 2015 alone £12.3bn of food and drink was exported to international markets, 73% of which ended up in EU member states, according to FDF figures. So it’s hardly surprising the prospect of future global trade evoked some of the most passionate responses from food and drink professionals. Their biggest concern is how this current volume of trade with EU countries might be affected should the UK vote to end its membership in June. Forty three per cent say importing goods from the EU will get harder and 47% say the same of exports.

“We source much of our private label [from] EU suppliers”, which “contribute significantly to our bottom line” says one retailer. “I worry that Brexit may lead to the imposition of tariffs and barriers, which would make importing and exporting more challenging and less fruitful.”

“Any future trade arrangement is an unknown,” agrees another. “At the very least there will be administrative barriers that currently don’t exist” and “anti-UK sentiment will be high amongst our former EU partners”. Quite simply “the UK is and will always be a trading nation” and an “exit could place obstacles in the way.”

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Not all echo these concerns, though, with around a third convinced trade with EU states would be unaffected post-Brexit. “I feel a trade agreement will be easily arranged with the EU on our terms,” was one view. “Existing trade channels and free access will continue,” was another.

But it’s in trade deals outside the EU that optimism is most prevalent. A quarter think global trade with the likes of Asian powerhouses India and China would become easier for UK firms outside the European Union, while 39% say the steady growth in our trade with these global markets would stay the same whether in or out.

“We must not be stymied by the EU in trading with global partners and now is the time to retake control of the destiny of our independent country as a world-leading economy,” is one view of trade post-Brexit. A vote to leave “will allow us to trade more freely with non-EU countries without the need to apply for import tariffs,” was another opinion.