TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has given his backing to Farmers Weekly’s Local Food is Miles Better campaign.

The star of River Cottage fame said: “Excess food miles are a big, big problem. Research by groups such as Friends of the Earth identifies them as one of the most serious issues relating to the way food is sold today.

“High food mileage is one more miserable manifestation of the dumbing-down of our food culture and that’s why I heartily support the Farmers’ Weekly campaign to address the problem.”

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall said that by ferrying the vast majority of their stock over lengthy distances, retailers were “not only polluting our environment, but making a hefty contribution to the emissions which are wrecking our climate”.

And he added: “The routine over-transportation of food is not just an environmental issue. Aside from being a senseless waste of energy, it’s a symptom of the nefarious belief that we should all be able to eat whatever we want, whenever we want, and to hell with seasonality and regionality.

“It implies a complete lack of respect for food and means consumers get less choice and poorer quality: Produce that has to go on long journeys needs to be harvested before it’s ripe, then overchilled and overpackaged.”

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall joins a lengthening list of celebrity supporters of the Food Miles campaign including Rick Stein, Ross Burden and David Bellamy.