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How Brexit spoiled the Easter holiday for British chocolate makers

LONDON – For the second year in a row, Easter will be a major online social networking service with virtual church services. But here in Britain, there is a difference. Domestic chocolate makers who should have celebrated one of the busiest times of the year are gloomy instead, և all for the same reason. Brexit:

“We’ve lost all of our European business,” said Anish Popat, owner of Chocolatier, which sells dark chocolate salted caramel water ganache Easter eggs and other entertainment about 50 miles north of Bedfordshire, London. “Worse, we lost our reputation because when we send chocolate pallets to, say, Germany, և it disappears or we can not track it, our customers do not blame the courier mail. “They blame us.”

A trade deal with the European Union late last year kept Britain out of a range of tariffs that would reduce the price of goods to the mainland. It did not save British companies from the morally-unpredictable stimulus from time to time, from document packages that turned EU exports into a kind of black box mystery.

The goods are coming in, there is no history of when they will come out. Or how much the customs duties will cost the recipient. Or even where the product will eventually land.

“On January 4, in Paris, we sent the customer a chocolate palette, and yesterday it was returned to our company,” Popat said on April 1. “It simply came to our notice then.

“So instead of trying to explain that we have no idea where our shipments went to Europe, we just have to stop shipping there,” he added.

Complaints about the country’s “perplexing” products have been heard from industry across the globe, from automakers to shellfish manufacturers. In November, the government predicted that the country would suffer from the worst recession in three centuries due to the epidemic; it predicted that the economy would shrink by 11.3%. At the same time, the administration of Boris John Onson has minimized the ongoing migraine of the Brexit trade with Europe, describing the issue as a “dental problem”.

For chocolate makers, the problems are more like bites that will leave a mark. According to the Food and Beverage Federation, chocolate is the second largest food and beverage export in the UK after whiskey. Last year, chocolate exports to all countries amounted to $ 1.1 billion, with Europe accounting for 70% of those sales. In January, British chocolate exports to Europe fell by 68% compared to the same period last year.

The industry is dominated by several players, including Cadbury, one of the world’s largest producers of candy. But after the boom in artificial bean bars, dozens of family companies rallied around Britain, focusing on ethically sourced ingredients and ordered batches. They have become big sellers in Europe, but it is almost impossible to find them there since January.

“We have customers who constantly complain to us, ‘Why can’t I buy my favorite British chocolate?'” Says Hyshem Ferjani, founder of Choco Dealer in Bonn, Germany through: “We have shop owners with empty shelves.”

“We have to explain, it is not our fault, it is not the producer’s fault. “It’s Brexit,” he said.

Ferjani has a list of 100 customers who have asked for alarms when British chocolate starts arriving again. One of them is Simone Schliff, a fan of the Chocolate Tree, a Edinburgh-based company that the company describes as “visually stunning works of small-batch food.” He especially likes the whiskey-flavored nibs made by the company.

“My mother too,” he said. “I would definitely buy something for the holidays, but I would buy it every month.”

Alastair Gower, the owner of “The Chocolate Tree”, is just as angry. Since Brexit, he has successfully shipped exactly one batch of goods to Europe. And there were plenty of snacks along the way.

The $ 8,000 chocolate shipment was stranded on the road to the Netherlands for weeks. When it finally arrived, his client was asked to pay almost $ 5,000 in equivalent fees because Gauer did not fill out the import declaration correctly.

“We were told the goods would arrive in France, so we set up an entry point to Calais. “It went to Rotterdam, where it stayed for six weeks,” he said. “Chocolate. Sitting in storage. In six weeks. “

With the help of a shipping agent, he managed to reduce the import duty. He has learned to fill in the blanks, but that experience will not help him much.

“It is impossible to find carriers who will supply Europe,” he said, “because there is a lot of goods in the pipeline.”

The stagnation at Coco Caravan, a chocolate maker in Cotswolds, means that Europe has gone from 15% of the company’s revenue to zero. This has caused the owner ques ak Kop to disappoint old customers կանգ to drive back new customers. In recent months, prospective buyers in the Netherlands, France and Germany have expressed interest.

“They say, ‘We found you online, we love everything you do ethically աղբյուր in terms of vegetation, but how are you going to fight the import-export problem that we will have with the European Union?’ We can not give them a definite answer, except “Yes, there are additional costs associated with it.”

Police are facing challenges from British chocolate producers to import raw materials from Europe. He stored cocoa in 2020 from a source of his choice in Amsterdam. Now that it’s time to buy more, there are obstacles. Transportation costs have doubled, which is quite bad. But the police say that their shipper refuses to receive new orders due to fears that the cargo will be somehow disrupted in Amsterdam’s “Britain”.

“It’s to the point where I’m thinking of taking a Renault van, just driving it to the Netherlands myself,” said Kopp. “It takes 10 hours by car in each direction. But I’m not sure I have another option. “

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