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The Co-operative Food Commits £1.5 Billion to UK Farmers

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The Co-operative Food Commits £1.5 Billion to UK Farmers

The Co-operative Food Commits £1.5 Billion to UK Farmers
December 10
12:33 2014

UK convenience food retailer The Co-operative Food has made an unequivocal £1.5 billion three year commitment to support and celebrate British food. The commitment comes as new consumer research shows that 90% of shoppers want supermarkets to sell more food from British farms, and 81 percent of farmers believe 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 and at the same time 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 be in its chilled ready meals and pies, sandwiches, eggs and milk.

Launching its new UK sourcing report, entitled ‘Born and Bred’, The Co-operative Food re-enforced its commitment to its farming groups, which were launched last year, in order to back British farmers and agriculture. The farming groups enable the retailer to cement relationships with producers, deliver a continued investment in quality and provide shoppers with a more consistent and transparent supply chain.

Steve Murrells, The Co-operative Food’s retail chief executive, says: “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.”

He adds: “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 (73 per cent) of consumers have more confidence in British sourced food and a massive 86 per cent feel that food is more traceable when produced on British farms. More than eight out of ten (84 per cent) say that buying British sourced food is important to them with one in three saying it is very important. The study also shows that almost half of consumers (47 per cent) see the origin of food as the second most important label information after the use or sell by date (66 per cent).

The Co-operative Food  is part of The Co-operative Group, which is the UK’s largest co-operative business with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services. Owned by millions of UK consumers, The Co-operative Group operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 employees and an annual turnover of approximately £11 billion.

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