6 November 1998

British beef on mess menu

SOLDIERS based at Londons Hyde Park Barracks feasted on British beef this week as farm minister Nick Brown and junior defence minister John Spellar joined the NFU for the launch of its "Proud to Serve British" campaign.

The initiative aims to put more British food on the nations menus by targeting the catering sector.

According to the results of a national survey conducted for the NFU, families in Britain currently spend 26% of their annual food budget, equivalent to £23bn, eating out.

The results showed that 80% wanted to see more British food served, with the favourite dishes including roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, roast lamb, chicken and pork, and shepherds pie.

Main reason

Almost half (47%) said their main reason for choosing British food was to support the rural economy. Higher quality was cited by 22%, while 13% listed better animal welfare standards as the determining factor.

Almost nine out of 10 (88%) of those surveyed thought that restaurants, cafes and pubs could do more to promote British food.

NFU president Ben Gill said: "British farmers and growers are extremely proud of the high quality, welfare and environmentally friendly food they produce. We are asking caterers and restaurateurs to share this pride by placing home grown produce on their menus."

Farmers across the country will be asked to visit local pubs, cafes and restaurants to encourage them to buy British. Those who do will be given themed posters, table displays and window stickers with the "Proud to Serve British" message. They will also be placed on the NFUs national role of honour.