An online shopping guide reveals the retailers who back British farmers – and those who don’t.
Shoppers are being urged to use the guide to measure the performance of their regular supermarket when it comes to supporting British agriculture.
The NFU has been working over the past 12 months to establish the sourcing policies of all the major retailers on their ‘own brand’ products.
Beef and lamb
The online guide shows that Aldi and Morrisons source all of their beef and lamb from British farmers on their standard and premium lines.
But Asda, the Co-operative and Sainsbury’s source 100% British for their premium lines of beef and lamb only.
The Co-operative, Lidl, M&S and Waitrose said all of their standard line beef came from British producers; however they only source British lamb at certain times of the year.
NFU chief food chain adviser Ruth Mason said transparency was key in the battle to provide shoppers with the information that would enable them to buy British food.
It would also enable farmers to produce for the domestic retail market, she said.
“We want to promote British food to the general public and support shoppers who want to buy British food by helping them find it at different retailers,” said Ms Mason.
“If consumers know who is sourcing from British farmers and growers, it allows them to make an informed choice about which retailers they then want to buy from.”
Vegetables and fruit
When it came to selling seasonal British fruit and vegetables, Aldi reported selling 16 lines, including potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, berries and parsnips.
This was followed by Waitrose, which reported selling 12 lines, Morrisons with 10, and Tesco and the Co-operative with six.
As sourcing policies constantly change, the guide will be updated, although the NFU is calling for retailers to build more transparent and sustainable supply chains.
The NFU also said labeling was still too difficult to understand, making it difficult for consumers to identify British produce, particularly in the dairy sector.
But it said consumers could ensure they bought British by looking out for the Red Tractor logo with the Union Jack on it, which meant the food could be traced back to a British farm.
Some 96% of meat, fish and poultry sold in major retailers are own brand products, according market research company Nielsen. So too is almost 100% of fruit and vegetables.