More than 21,000 people have signed an open letter calling for supermarkets to back farmers by adding ‘buy British’ tabs to their websites.
The filter would direct shoppers to homegrown food as part of efforts to help boost the economy and cut the UK’s carbon footprint.
Following calls from the NFU, the public and most recently 110 MPs, the Defra Secretary has also announced support for industry-led action to signpost customers to ‘buy British’ when they shop online.
The call to provide shoppers with easier means of identifying British produce is part of a campaign being spearheaded by the NFU, which is accepting signatories online.
Responding to the new push, the union's president Minette Batters said: “We have been asking retailers to commit to signposting British produce for a number of years.
“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.”
Open letter signatories include former Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee Philip Dunne MP, Climate Minister Graham Stuart and members of the Commons’ EFRA Committee.
The letter was signed by representatives from all the main political parties in England and Wales.
“British farmers work hard all year round to ensure our nation’s food security, are crucial in supporting strong local economies and have been instrumental in preserving and protecting our environment,” the letter said.
It added that the “small change” would give “customers greater autonomy over their food choices” and could boost seasonal eating.
Outside of their overall sourcing policies, most major supermarkets do not yet have a ‘buy British’ function across their food ranges.
However, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose websites have sections for seasonal British produce on their fruit and vegetables page.
Sainsbury’s also allows shoppers to select British meat and fish at a click, while Ocado has a ‘Best of British’ page.