Shoppers may find a more Antipodean flavour to their grocery basket as Tim Tams biscuits, macadamia nuts and Jacob’s Creek wine hit supermarket shelves at lower prices after the Government signed a new trade deal.
Trade deals with Australia and New Zealand came into effect on Wednesday, the first to be negotiated since Britain left the EU.
The Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has hailed the deals as an “historic moment”.
They mean UK businesses will be able to sell to Australia and New Zealand more easily as all tariffs are removed and access to these markets for services are unlocked. More than 99 per cent of all Australian and New Zealand exports enter Britain duty-free through a combination of tariff elimination and duty-free quotas.
Consumers could see Australian favourite the Tim Tam chocolate biscuit push the Penguin aside while wine brands such as Jacob’s Creek are expected to drop in price.
William Bain, head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, told i the loss of tariffs on most imported goods from Australia and New Zealand meant retailers would be more inclined to sell those products and potentially at lower prices.
He said: “There will be a reduction in prices as a result of tariffs coming off. We are likely to see things more biscuits and confectionery like the caramel chocolate bar (Caramilk).
“Tim Tam biscuits will be imported by stores or sellers without having to pay the import duties.”
However, he said it might take a while for British consumers to develop a taste for these particular products.
Where there already is a ready market is in alcohol.
“Australia and New Zealand will be exporting a lot more wines – Jacob’s Creek is a fairly ubiquitous brand in Australia”, said Mr Bain. “We could see 8-10p coming off both Australian and New Zealand wines.
“There could also be more dried fruits and nuts coming in rather than fresh – raisins and macademia nuts.”
But meat is likely to be a slightly different story: this part of the market is not tariff-free to start with but on a sliding scale over 15 years.
“It’s a way of trying to protect farmers here from immediate competition”, Mr Bain said. “It will be quite a while before you see Australian beef steaks next to British in supermarkets.”
However, he said, large-scale catering sectors such as schools and hospitals might choose to use more imported meat.
For British exporters, he believes the boon area is like to be in the “intangible but very important services” such insurance, pensions, business and legal services.
Whether this happens overnight is open to debate, however.
Bryan Roberts, retail analyst at IGD, said although the tariffs had been removed from trade between the UK and Australia and New Zealand, the shift to buying and selling more Antipodean products would not be immediate.
“From the British shoppers’ perspective, we generally buy the same things – we are set in our ways,” he said. “So exporters will not be casting seed on fertile ground.”
For Australian and New Zealand importers, he thinks the priority could be closer to home in places like China.
And he said retailers could find that customers prefer to buy local and British where possible for sustainability.
“British retailers need to show they are supporting British producers and reducing their carbon footprint,” he said. “For all of these reasons, I don’t think there will be a huge surge of Antipodean imports into this country.”