British Chicken Marketing (BCM) has identified a growing interest by consumers, and foodservice firms, in sourcing home-grown food.

“People are becoming increasingly interested about the provenance of the food they eat – and this is especially true of meat,” said BCM chairman, Charles Bourns.

“Many are wanting the reassurance of knowing it was reared and produced to the high standards of our own British farms.”

An increasing number of foodservice and restaurant businesses are recognising the importance of this trend, and are offering their customers UK-sourced chicken.

Sodexho, one of the UK’s biggest foodservice organisations, supplies a wide range of markets such as business and industry, schools, hospitals and corporate hospitality. It has noticed a growing demand for British produce in recent years. “We give our clients the option of having British versus imported chicken,” said Steve Jobson, Sodexho buying director.

“And even though the local chicken is priced at a premium above imported, most of our customers now opt for British.”

For restaurants and foodservice companies that commit to a 100% British sourcing policy – on chicken and/or other assured British farm produce – there is now also the option of applying for a licence from Assured Food Standards to carry the Red Tractor logo on their menu and marketing materials.

QMH UK Limited is one of the first big companies to take advantage of this new scheme. The company, which operates 19 hotels in the UK, has just launched a seven-month “Sunday Best” carvery special across its group of outlets, which provides customers with only UK-reared chicken, lamb and beef.

“It’s great to see that companies like Sodexho and QMH are recognising the importance of offering customers British-reared chicken,” said Mr Bourns.

“And, hopefully, as awareness grows we’ll see more food service businesses making the commitment to sourcing good quality, local produce and highlighting this to their customers.”