Sir James Duddridge KCMG, Member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend East, has signed an open letter from over 100 MPs calling on supermarkets to highlight the very best of British produce by incorporating a ‘Buy British’ section online.
The letter, penned by Dr Luke Evans MP and supported by 110 cross-Party MPs, states ‘Our ask is simple, create a tab that collates produce from farmers,’ citing consumer choice, environmental benefits and support for farmers as reasons to make the change.
The ‘Buy British’ tab would collate produce from across the UK so customers have “greater power in their choices”, enabling them to support the nation’s farmers ‘quickly and easily’.
The MPs say the change could be achieved ‘by the click of a mouse’, with many shops already labelling British products, therefore the online change is simply bringing the produce to the fore in a 'one-stop online shop' for the public to better identify homegrown produce.
In a recent survey carried out by the National Farmers Union, 61% of respondent farmers stated the supply chain and market volatility have negative impacts on their mental health, with 80% of dairy farmers in a second NFU survey citing cash flow and profitability as key factors which throw the future of their business into doubt.
Farmers face an expensive harvest as domestic weather records – the driest February in 30 years, hottest June ever recorded and a notably wet July – as well as high import costs for energy, fuel and fertiliser threaten positive yields and profits.
The open letter champions the work of Britain’s farmers in ensuring food security, supporting strong local economies and preserving and protecting the environment, while empowering the public to be able to make easy choices in how they shop for their food.
Commenting, Sir James said:
"We know the public wants to know more about where their food comes from and how it is produced. Farmers work tirelessly, from dawn until dusk, to produce food for our nation, and the ‘Buy British’ section is an easy and accessible way for the public to support them.
"This simple change on a webpage helps to ensure home-grown food is easily identifiable, something I am delighted to support.
Dr Luke Evans, Member of Parliament for Bosworth, said:
“The ‘Buy British’ section is a small and clear change which shows support for our farmers while allowing consumers to make an easy, informed choice.
“Farmers say the best way to support them is simple: buy British produce. Supermarkets are keen to support our food producers and we know the public want to play their part, but this easy signposting doesn’t currently exist for millions of people who do their food shop online.
“Buying British is good for local food producers, good for the environment and good for consumer choice. It’s a win all round.”
Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers Union, said:
“We have been asking retailers to commit to signposting British produce for a number of years, so it’s great to see MPs and their constituents getting behind the idea of a ‘Buy British tab’ online.
“We know from our own independent survey that 86% of the public want to buy more British food, but it is often tricky to determine what products are produced in the UK and this simple change would help the shoppers do that.”