Local produce returns to the limelight

Demand for local produce continues to rise across the country and, given the backdrop of political and social trends, many farmers are taking the opportunity to be proud of their produce’s heritage.

There has been a resurgence in buying local produce as British consumers wake up to the idea of better shopping, and new research suggests the trend will continue.

Nearly one-third of consumers are buying more British products since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, according to pricing specialist Simon-Kucher and Partners.

The company has been tracking the impact of the referendum on buying choices for the past three years and its latest survey shows 30 per cent of consumers report buying more Britishbranded products, a ratio that has climbed from 24 per cent in April 2018.

The findings also suggest British consumers report an increase in purchasing local produce, such as fruit and vegetables and cheeses, and spending more money on English brands.

The report echoes similar sentiments expressed by consumers in research published by Defra, which revealed 60 per cent of shoppers agreed they tried to buy British food whenever they could, and 76 per cent agreed it was important to support British farmers.

According to supply chain standards organisation GS1, consumption of local British food and drink has enjoyed a renaissance as consumers seek out food and drink which demonstrates local heritages, transparency and provenance.

Chief executive Gary Lynch says buying British and local is now hugely back in vogue, and this is attributable to various factors.

He says: “The upswing in the demand for authentic heritage products and the increased popularity of small, local suppliers can be attributed to a number of factors.

“There has been a shift in what it means to be British and a resurgence in patriotic pride, with the Union Jack no longer the sole preserve of football hooligans.

“No single event was responsible; think of it more of a conflationary cocktail, one part Great British Bake Off, a dash of Keep Calm and Carry On and a spritz of the London 2012 Olympics, all muddled together with a blend of other ingredients.

“One thing is certain: buying British has never been so fashionable.”