M&S is withdrawing hundreds of products from Northern Ireland, including Percy Pigs

This little piggy (didn’t go) to Northern Ireland

Marks and Spencer has today announced the temporary withdrawal of over 100 food products to its Northern Ireland supermarkets – including Percy Pigs.

The move comes following uncertainties surrounding the UK’s formal exit from the EU and what that means for food security and trade agreements between GB-NI food producers.

Only last month, both M&S and Sainsbury’s warned of potential food shortages due to such inconsistencies surrounding Brexit.

However, whilst the average QUB student may only pop down to Lisburn Road Simply Food on loan drop day or when you’ve come back from a weekend at the family home and nabbed £20 shnoop from your Da, the real tragedy here is – no more Percy Pigs for us here in Northern Ireland.

The confectionary legend who has been a household name for years now has been taken off shelves as the product is manufactured in Germany. The UK Government has granted an initial grace period to allow for food traders to finalise trade operations in the new post-EU context.

northern ireland, percy pigs, marks and spencers, m and s

Despite warnings which were placed from both supermarkets who have just short of 30 retail units in the North, Sainsbury’s has also removed a significant number of items from its NI trade roster. However, instead of leaving shelves empty, Sainsbury’s has signed a contract to replace these items with Spar goods, a franchise of Henderson Wholesale who remain based in Northern Ireland.

This will be in place until at least April.

The issue stems from the border in Northern Ireland. A common source of contention, Northern Ireland will remain the EU Single Market for access to goods. This is a proactive step as the Republic of Ireland is remaining in the EU and should therefore simplify NI’s access to EU markets.

However, because GB is exiting from the Single Market this means that in concomitance with EU Trade Law which the island of Ireland remains obliged to, there will have to be stringent checks and balances in place to ensure trade regulations are met.

This isn’t the end of the road forever on these products, as M&S has confirmed that the move will only be a temporary measure as they iron out all of the final agreements now with the new trade relationships between the EU, GB and Ireland.

northern ireland, percy pigs, marks and spencers, m and s

In a statement, a spokesperson for M&S said: “We have served customers in Northern Ireland for over 50 years and our priority is to make sure we continue to deliver the same choice and great quality range that our loyal customers have always enjoyed”.

They added: “Stores have been receiving regular deliveries this week, however following the UK’s recent departure from the EU, we are transitioning to new processes and we’re working closely with our partners and suppliers to ensure customers can continue to enjoy a great range of products.”

Fourth year QUB Law student Laura described how she is “absolutely gutted” at the absence of Percy paraphernalia. “Thank God my second best Colin the Caterpillar is still there for my final year woes”, she said.

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