Milk with Red Tractor logo© E. M. Welch/REX

Farmers’ efforts to get shoppers backing British food struggle to break through, according to new figures.

Two-thirds of people still buy groceries based on cost and convenience – rather than where it comes from.

Less than a quarter check where food comes from or try to shop seasonally.

See also: British lamb loses out to New Zealand on shelf

YouGov research carried out for Barclays also showed these findings contrasted what farmers thought they should produce.

Only 5% of farmers thought there was a business opportunity in low-value produce, with 27% seeing high-value food as the best target market.

Barclays head of agriculture Mark Suthern said consumers said the market for that niche produce was smaller than for lower-cost farm food.

“With this in mind, perhaps now is the time for the industry to think differently, to ensure that UK farming remains competitive at family firm level and can compete with global players providing cheaper imported produce.”
Mark Suthern, Barclays

“This gap presents an opportunity for a quick and low-cost producer mentality needed for future growth and the challenge will be production of quality produce in a price conscious market,” he said.

“With this in mind, perhaps now is the time for the industry to think differently, to ensure that UK farming remains competitive at family firm level and can compete with global players providing cheaper imported produce.”

Barclays’ research also found 10 reasons that would make shoppers buy more UK produce.

The top factor would be cheaper prices, followed by better taste, clearly superior quality and higher animal welfare.

About 58% said they thought UK produce was of a higher standard than imports.

And consumers said they would pay a 17% premium on average if they wanted to buy British food.