The vast majority of cooking suites that are supplied to the UK market are manufactured in Europe, such is the dominance of Italian and French brands specialising in this field. But with Brexit on the horizon, questions are being asked about what this could mean for pricing in 2019.
Leading manufacturers say it is tough to make any firm calls at the moment, but admit that cost is an issue at the forefront of their minds.
“The uncertain political landscape means that the cost of equipment will continue to be a challenge as currency instability affects pricing,” said Trevor Burke, managing director of Exclusive Ranges.
“At the top end of the market, the market for bespoke, high quality equipment from brands such as Menu System, will remain buoyant. However, the rest of the market may be a little more cautious.”
Shaun Hall, product development chef at Falcon, thinks UK operators will continue to look for reliability in the face of the uncertain political environment.
“They’ll need assurance that Brexit won’t impact on, for example, the fast despatch of spare parts. They’ll want to focus on trusted suppliers who have products available and in stock. Being a British manufacturer we’re less exposed to Brexit, and since we hold high levels of stock we are perfectly placed to meet demand from the UK market.”
Nick McDonald, commercial director of Rexmartins, admits it is impossible to predict exactly how things turn out until negotiations between the UK and EU have reached a definitive conclusion.
“If the government fails to strike a trade deal with the EU, then this will increase costs, not only of imported final product, but also home-grown equipment, much of which incorporates a large percentage of imported raw materials and components. These costs would have to be passed on at some point to consumers. But if a deal is struck, sterling is likely to appreciate against major currencies and so ease input cost pressures.”
Steve Hobbs, managing director of Athanor supplier Grande Cuisine, added: “In an uncertain market, prices always rise as businesses try to take the ‘risk’ element out. However with a good Brexit deal, prices may come down if sterling strengthens against the euro and dollar.”