2021: the year of buying British
The special appeal of food produced or grown locally has always been an important string in the bow of fine food retailers, but never has the demand for British-made food and drink been as high. Data from the recent Farmer Favourability Survey, conducted by OnePoll, found that 73% of the public often or always looks specifically for British food when shopping - the highest figure recorded since the survey began in 2012. “We believe that customers see the quality of British products that farmers and other suppliers are producing and wish to support this,” explains Ruth Edge of the National Farmers Union. “It is great to see our environmental and welfare credentials being recognised.”
Consumers are increasingly appreciating the high-quality fresh food and drink available from UK producers - but what’s driving this trend?
Covid and Brexit have certainly both played significant roles. While Brexit rekindled a desire to support British producers, Covid-19’s shock to global food supply chains hammered home just how important local products can be. “The pandemic encouraged customers, both existing and new, to focus on what’s available on their doorstep rather than automatically turning to, or relying on supermarkets 100% of the time,” says Charlotte Smith of Eggs to Apples Farm Shop in Sussex.
“Availability was at the forefront of everyone’s minds when lockdown first hit. Supermarkets were unable to keep up with demand for many essentials, and it was local producers, farmers and businesses that truly shone through. Having historically strong relationships with them meant our shorter supply chains were able to keep up with demand, much to the relief of our customers. This highlighted the important role our local and British producers play in the larger shopping community.”