7 April 2000
Farmers told to grow premium food
By FWi staff
THE future for UK farmers lies in producing premium foods rather than commodity goods, a rural research conference has been told.
Britains growing household incomes would be the saviour of UK farming, Professor David Hughes told the Roots 2000 at Wye College, Kent.
As British consumers became wealthier, they would want higher-quality fruit, vegetable and cereal products, he said.
Shoppers would also demand that their meat was reared less intensively and produced to higher animal-welfare standards.
The price of food would become less important, he told delegates attending the conference organised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
The proportion of household income spent on food is expected to fall from 11% today to just 6% by 2010, Prof Hughes said.
Concern about the price difference between premium and cheap food would therefore all but disappear for most UK households.
Growing cheap food would be left to producers in parts of the world where land and labour costs were lower, Prof Hughes concluded.