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Co-operative Food commits £1.5 billion to UK farmers

The Co-operative Food has committed £1.5 billion to UK farmers as part of plans to source more British meat, produce and dairy products.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Co-operative Food commits £1.5 billion to UK farmers

The three year commitment follows new consumer research by the retailer which shows that 90% of shoppers want supermarkets to sell more food from British farms and 81% of farmers believe that retailers should support UK farming by only selling British meat and poultry.

In response, The Co-operative Food has pledged to source British products over and above alternatives for its own brand meat, poultry, produce and dairy products. It also said that it will adopt a “totally transparent” approach to its marketing of UK food and will report back annually on its progress.

This means that all own-brand meat, with the specific exception of New Zealand lamb and Danish bacon, sold in Co-operative Food stores will be British as will its chilled ready meals, pies, sandwiches, eggs and milk.

Steve Murrells, The Co-operative Food’s retail chief executive, said: “At the heart of our pledge is a commitment to be open and honest about where the food we sell comes from and to ensure that is it marketed and promoted in a fair and transparent way.

“Trust in retailers has been dented in recent years and we hope our openness about where we source our meat, poultry and produce will encourage more retailers to follow suit.

“Shoppers want to know about the origin of their products and if supermarkets import meat for use in products it is important that, as well as being identified on product labelling, in-store marketing should not seek to unwittingly mislead. Backing British must mean more than just rolling out the bunting.”

Research for the report shows that almost three out of four of consumers have more confidence in British sourced food and 86% feel that food is more traceable when produced on British farms. More than eight out of ten consumers polled said that buying British sourced food was important to them with one in three saying it was very important.

The study also shows that almost half of consumers see the origin of food as the second most important label information after the use or sell by date.

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