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Consumer Pressure Remains on Retailers to Back British Farming

25 February 2014

UK - Retailers should listen to their customers and show their support for British farming by stocking more British food, NFU President Peter Kendall said today.

A year on from the horsemeat scandal, a new YouGov survey commissioned by the NFU shows that the pressure on supermarkets to sell more British food is as strong now as it was when a similar survey was carried out in the immediate aftermath of the scandal.

Mr Kendall said: “The YouGov survey shows that 79 per cent of British people think British supermarkets should sell more food produced on British farms. I’m constantly told by some supermarkets that their sourcing policies are determined by what their customers want. This survey shows very clearly that consumers want more British food, so I hope they will take this on board and act on it.

“We’re not saying that supermarkets should not stock any foreign produce. But we would urge the retailers to listen to what consumers are saying. The horsemeat scandal showed us that food security isn’t just about an abundance of supply. It’s also about safety, quality and transparency. British farmers and growers provide some of the highest quality produce in the world produced to high standards of quality, welfare and traceability and consumers want to buy it.”

After the horsemeat scandal public trust in the supermarkets dropped significantly - from 69 per cent to 35 per cent according to a OnePoll survey in February 2013. A question asked by YouGov 12 months later shows the level of trust is now 52 per cent but is still some way off trust levels before the revelations.

Mr Kendall said: “Last year I called on retailers to work on rebuilding consumer trust. While that trust has recovered to some extent there is still a long way to go. Backing British farming by stocking more British food will help retailers regain consumer confidence.

“Our farmers want to know that when retailers say they are backing British farming they are doing so at every turn and at every opportunity. There are many ways retailers can show their support – through stocking food that carries the Red Tractor logo; through the relationships they’ve created with their farmer suppliers; and through the types of supply arrangements they have in place with farmers.

“I would urge all retailers to join those that have already done so and sign up to our Back British Farming Charter and commit to stocking more British food and working in partnership with British farmers to develop committed, fair and beneficial relationships.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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