Shoppers want more food from British farms on supermarket shelves in the wake of the horse meat scandal, a poll suggested yesterday.
Farmers called for more transparency and an end to “short-termism” in some sectors of the food supply chain and for better labelling so people could choose to buy British.
More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of 1,000 people polled for the National Farmers’ Union said supermarkets should sell more food from British farms and 43 per cent said they were more likely to buy traceable food from farms in Britain following the revelations over horse meat in processed foods.
Ahead of the NFU’s annual conference in Birmingham this week, president Peter Kendall said shorter and more traceable supply chains would alleviate the crisis of recent weeks. He also called for clearer country of origin labelling so consumers could buy British more easily.
Mr Kendall said: “Farmers have been furious about what has happened. They have spent many years working to ensure the British supply chain is fully traceable from farm to pack, and have upheld strong principles which are embodied in assurance schemes like Red Tractor.
“For me this is fundamental for consumer confidence.
“But more than that, I want to see retailers working on rebuilding consumer trust – improving transparency and partnership with farmers and the rest of the supply chain is critical. However, what we see currently in some sectors is real short-termism. The margin distribution in the supply chain needs more transparency and joined-up thinking if we are to tackle the dual challenges of volatility and environmental pressures.”
He added: “Our research also demonstrates the strong demand for British-farmed products, and so retailers, processors and food service companies have a responsibility to ensure there is clear country of origin labelling on the products that consumers purchase.
“For consumers, I say be more demanding. Ask your retailers where the food they are selling comes from and look out for the Red Tractor logo.”
Speakers at the NFU’s annual conference include Tesco chief executive Phillip Clarke and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.