Wednesday 25 May 2022

Brexit deficit: Dutch shops in a pickle over British favourites

Baked beans, bacon and sausages are essential ingredient in a British breakfast. Photo:

Shops that sell British goods and treats in the Netherlands have complained of delays, cancellations and chaos after Brexit paperwork has slowed some orders to a complete halt.

Retailers told that they were forced to look to Ireland for products such as bacon and sausages because the onerous paperwork on meat exports from Britain is stopping products getting through.

Even canned goods such as Heinz soups and pies appear stuck, deliveries that used to take 10 days now take eight weeks, and some wholesalers have apparently given up trying to export products such as cheese.

Eef Voskuilen, owner of the Eichholtz Delicatessen in central Amsterdam, said that deliveries were being held up even before Brexit day. ‘It’s unbelievable that it can be like this in the modern-day world,’ he told

‘Everything that contains meat needs separate certification: Heinz cream of chicken soup, Oxtail soup and pies are all a problem. We have to wait for eight weeks for things to get through which is far longer than the normal 10 working days, and sometimes the delivery is past its best before date. Every day we are sending emails and making calls asking where our goods are and nobody knows: even our experienced wholesalers have huge delays. It’s extremely difficult.’

For Jan Wisseldorp, store manager at Sterk Amsterdam, it is a surprise if anything actually makes it through, even though he has started sourcing products from Ireland. ‘I’m just not getting deliveries in,’ he told ‘Deep frozen sausages, tea, tins of beans, cereal: there’s nothing. What comes is Irish so we have Irish sausages, bacon and cheddar.

‘Our clients are noticing it because when they come and ask if there is haggis for Burns Night, I have to say I would like to order it but it’s just not working. What’s wrong with the products that were problem-free before Brexit? It’s the same bunch of roses we export and the same tin of beans we get, but now it’s extra dangerous and needs extra checks? It is really irritating.’


The strangest products are sometimes impacted, including cushions containing feathers and crockery imported via the UK from Pakistan or China. Koos Hofland, director of Jac A. van Zanten in Nieuwenkerk aan den Ijssel, said that pallets of mixed goods are the biggest problem.

‘We have ordered our own van to bring in tea via Belgium – PG Tips, Tetley, Yorkshire and Twinings,’ he said. ‘Some things are available via Ireland but not everything, because they have the same problem.

‘The whole process is so complex and costly that for some things like English pies it is not worth it: will anyone want to buy them if the price rises to €5? Big cheese companies have stopped exporting if buying £30 of cheese will cost another €100 in health certificates, plus transport.

‘There are thousands of things being exported, and although sometimes we can make substitutions, some customers want a particular brand like Cadbury,’ he said. ‘If a client wants brown sauce or Bisto, they want brown sauce or Bisto. This just can’t carry on.’

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