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Buying British to boost your daily bread (and cheese)



Whatever happens between now and the October Brexit deadline, some things will remain the same after the fateful day has passed: UK trains are unlikely to run on time, politicians will find something else to argue about and we will all need to keep buying food to fill our fridges.  

While we witnessed some knee-jerk reactions immediately after the Brexit vote about goods coming from international markets – threats of no more Marmite and huge tariffs on wine/olives/halloumi – the sector producing food for the UK has remained relatively stable.

The largest farms growing, rearing and producing meat, dairy and arable stuffs that fill our daily intake are not listed as public companies open to independent investors, but there are several that support them or process their output from which we can gauge the situation – and buy in.

National Milk Records Group provides the tools farmers need to manage their cows’ milk production, health and fertility. Cows, calves and a range of other dairy-related items are tested every year by the group, which was formed during World War Two.

The group helps the UK’s 8,792 farmers keep their livestock fit and healthy and producing enough of the white stuff to keep our tea the right shade and our cheese sandwiches tasty.

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If the UK leaves the European Union with a deal or not, there have been encouraging murmurs from the government for us to all focus on supporting the country’s agriculture.

The National Milk Records Group must believe we are about to get patriotic about our pints, as it proclaimed in its latest annual report that Brexit would be mildly positive for the company, something it echoed last week.

The company has been listed on the NEX Exchange for the past few years, and is not the easiest share to buy, but its outlook offers investors a more positive outlook on the UK food sector than many we have heard over the last three years.

For those who like to invest a little further along the food chain and take a main-market approach, the London-based Greencore Group makes many products for household names, rather than under its own branding.

You might not think you know the company, but if you have consumed anything labelled as Bisto, WeightWatchers and Heinz, you may be able to attest to their quality. Greencore also produces the Deli range of prepared sandwiches consumed on petrol station forecourts up and down the UK.

The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has seen its share price rise more than 39% in the last year.

Yes, there is a wide range of non-UK-based food producers available for investment, but why not buy British? If there is still no deal in the offing by October, it might be worth getting up to speed now.

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