Co-operative Food, the supermarket division of UK company Co-operative Group, has made a three year commitment to support UK-produced food.
The UK’s fifth largest supermarket chain by market share has pledged to source UK products over and above alternatives for its “own brand”, meat, poultry, produce and dairy products and will adopt a transparent approach to its marketing of UK food, reporting back on its progress.
All own-brand meat, with the specific exceptions of New Zealand lamb and Danish bacon, sold in Co-operative Food stores will be British, as will its chilled ready meals and pies, sandwiches, eggs and milk.
The Co-operative took the decision following compilation of a report examining consumer attitudes to sourcing which found that 90 of shoppers wanted supermarkets to sell more locally sourced food.
Steve Murrells, Co-operative Food retail chief executive said: “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 other retailers to follow suit.
“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 labeling, in-store marketing should not seek to unwittingly mislead.”
National Farmers Union president Meurig Raymond commented: “It is reassuring to see a major retailer clearly setting its commitments to UK produce in a transparent and reviewable fashion, in particular via an open and clear report on their commitments to British agriculture through the publication of an annual report.”
The move was welcomed by the country’s environment secretary Elizabeth Truss, who said: “I would encourage all supermarkets to carefully consider the labeling on their products so their customers know exactly where their food comes from.”