The company claims, with the ongoing uncertainty of when Brexit will go ahead and the effects this will have on imports, exports and delays at port, Pasta Italia (trading name Free From Italy) decided to take positive action and achieve this internationally recognized and prestigious mark of quality and assurance.
AEO confirms Pasta Italia’s role in the international supply chain is secure and will ensure quicker access to simplified customs procedures and fast tracking of shipments.
“With AEO status we can offer our partners the confidence of efficient customs clearances,” said Nigel Singh, MD, Pasta Italia.
“Following Brexit, customs declarations to the UK are expected to increase by 500% to over 250 million so we are now in the best position to avoid the commercial and logistic uncertainties of the coming months or even years.”
New product launches on hold
Singh added, while it took a lot of hard work and many months to implement the systems required and to actively demonstrate these to a high standard to merit the accreditation, it gives both the company’s suppliers and customers the confidence that there will be little or no interruption of service with regards to their supply chain following Brexit.
"Pasta Italia is an importer of vegan and gluten free products mainly from Italy but also from Israel. We sell product into retail, foodservice and manufacturing channels," he said.
"Feedback to Brexit is very mixed, from our suppliers dismay and frustration. Many of our customers have been pragmatic, building up stocks (especially ahead of March 29) and working with us on price inflation since the referendum caused by the devaluation of sterling.
"Uncertainty has been and continues to be the biggest obstacle with many customers putting business development on hold. Pasta Italia has several new products we planned to launch but postponed due to Brexit.
"Our biggest surprise is that Pasta Italia is only one of a handful of food importers that holds AEO status today. Some politicians are claiming that having AEO or similar is a solution to a no-deal Brexit.
"Pasta Italia spent nine months, and tied up key resources to go through the AEO, it does not happen overnight. We had to prepare for a Halloween nightmare if the UK has a hard Brexit on October 31. The only thing we are certain about is uncertainty at this stage."
The Free From Italy portfolio includes foods from gluten free pastas to vegan croissants, chocolate spreads and peanut butter puffs.