Prof Doherty to give evidence to International Trade Committee examining impact of COVID-19 on UK food supplies

29 April 2020 / IKnowFood

International Trade CommitteeProf Bob Doherty will be providing virtual evidence to the International Trade Committee, from 14.30 on Thursday 30 April. The inquiry will continue to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this session will be looking at the global trade in agri-food and the  impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK food supplies.


According to data from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 53% of food consumed in the UK in 2018 was produced domestically, with the rest coming from overseas. Supply chains are often highly complex and operate on a “just in time” basis.

Evidence Session

In this session, the Committee will first consider how the agri-food system has responded to COVID-19 with two academic experts. Questions are expected to focus on the degree of reliance in the UK on food imports, the stability of supply chains and the impact of export restrictions imposed on food products by some countries.

The Committee will then hear from industry, taking evidence from representatives from the British Retail Consortium, whose members include some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets, and the Food and Drink Federation, who represent food manufacturers. Questions are expected to focus on how supply chains have responded, and what has been done so far by the Government and industry to mitigate disruption.

The Committee is also expected to consider the impact of worker shortages, border closures, and disruption to transport routes used by the industry.

Further information

The evidence session will begin at 14.30 on Thursday 30 April and be available to view via Parliament TV. Witnesses and Committee members will participate remotely. The Committee will take evidence from:

Panel 1

Professor Bob Doherty, Professor of Marketing and Chair in Agri-Food, University of York
Professor Fiona Smith, Professor of International Economic Law and N8 Chair in Agri-Food, University of Leeds

Panel 2

Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability, British Retail Consortium
Ian Wright CBE, Chief Executive, Food and Drink Federation

More information about the Committee’s COVID-19 and international trade inquiry is available via the Committee website.