More than 110 MPs have signed an open letter calling for supermarkets to back the nation’s farmers by adding ‘buy British’ tabs to their websites.
The filter would direct shoppers to homegrown food to help boost the economy and cut the UK’s carbon footprint, according to MPs.
The chief executives of eight major supermarkets were copied into the letter, which echoes a long-standing NFU ask dating back to 2017, when it raised the idea with the then-Defra Minister George Eustice.
The call to provide shoppers with easier means of supporting ‘brand Britain’ was also featured in the NFU’s British Food: Leading the Way report in 2021.
Responding to the new push, NFU President Minette Batters 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 shoppers do that.”
“It is often tricky to determine what products are produced in the UK and this simple change would help shoppers do that."
Open letter signatories include former Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee Rt Hon 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, although the Sainsbury’s and Waitrose sites 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. Ocado has a ‘Best of British’ page.