UK farmers demand ‘Buy British’ food labels to urge shoppers to buy local produce

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The National Farmers’ Union has urged the government to promote UK-produced food online to support the struggling industry

‘Buy British’ labels could be introduced for online grocery shopping to support the UK’s struggling farming industry.

Farmers are calling on the government to improve country-of-origin labelling on food packaging and to commit to preventing Britain’s self-sufficiency in food production slip below its current level of 60 per cent.

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What has the union said?

A report released by The National Farmers’ Union sets out what action needs to be taken by ministers to encourage the purchasing of locally grown produce online.

The report calls on the government to complete a comprehensive report on UK food security later this year which will be the first in more than a decade.

It also sets out how the UK can reduce its reliance on imported food by harnessing opportunities to increase home-grown produce such as beans and peas for people and animal feed, and boost export markets for produce such as lamb.

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One of the suggestions in the report is clearer and more accurate labelling on where groceries sold online are coming from. Another is the introduction of a ‘Buy British’ button or filter to allow shoppers to select British products.

The union is urging ministers to back an ambitious marketing strategy abroad for ‘Brand Britain’ and deliver domestic policies and investment so farmers can continue producing world-leading food.

The report also highlights action farmers are taking to make farming climate-friendly and sustainable, from protecting soils to rearing livestock on pastures and using new breeding and technology.

Why is buying local so important?

Over the past few years there has been a drive to keep the farming industry alive with a push for more investment in UK food and farming.

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The National Farmers’ Union president, Minette Batters, highlights why there has been encouragement to support our farmers across the UK.

She said: “British farmers produce some of the best food in the world.

“Not only is it delicious and nutritious, but it’s produced to incredibly high environmental, animal welfare, traceability, and food safety standards – something not every country is able to say.

“British farmers could increase the industry’s economic contribution and provide more nutritious, affordable, climate-friendly British food for UK shoppers and people across the world, all while bolstering domestic and global food security.”

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Ms Batters also highlights the importance of self-sufficiency which has dropped “from as high as 78 per cent in the mid-80s to its current level of just 60 per cent.”

She added: “As an island nation which is very well suited for quality food production, it would be a mistake to let that happen again and become even more reliant on the rest of the world to feed us.”

Jeremy Clarkson, TV personality and farmer, is supporting the National Farmers’ Union  and urges others to help the struggling industry. He said: “All right, it’s 5p more to buy this meat with a red tractor on it, but I’m getting better food and helping British farming.”

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