A quarter of convenience store retailers are concerned about Brexit-led food shortages, according to a survey by shopper insight agency HIM.

It found that out of a sample of 250 independent and symbol retailers, 27% were concerned about food shortages if the UK leaves the EU.

Eight per cent of retailers have already begun stockpiling with six weeks to go until the 31 October deadline, and another 12% expect to have to buy emergency stock from supermarkets as a result of Brexit.

The top four categories that retailers think will experience Brexit related shortages are fruit & veg (36%), meat (28%), fish (26%) and dairy (25%). The most common categories that retailers have been stockpiling in preparation for Brexit are alcohol (11%), tinned food (9%) and OTC medication (6%).

In addition, 50% feel their wholesaler isn’t providing enough support around Brexit and 22% believe wholesalers could do more to prevent food shortages post-Brexit. In particular, 40% of retailers want their wholesaler to stock more British products, 14% want them to put more pressure on suppliers and 11% want them to increase warehouse capacity.

Blonnie Walsh, senior insight manager at HIM and MCA Insight, said: “Uncertainty surrounding Brexit rumbles on. Half of retailers believe their wholesaler isn’t providing enough support. However, with confusion over the outcome of Brexit affecting everyone from consumers to head offices, I’m sure there is a case to be argued that wholesalers are as much in the dark as their customers.

“Despite this, we have seen some great examples of wholesaler communications focusing on Brexit, however these results indicate that more can be done. The outcome of Brexit and the impact it will have is unclear, but there is an opportunity to reassure retailers that everything possible is being done to limit disruption.”