News page 3Flying the flag for

News page 3Flying the flag for

News page 3

Flying the flag for British Foods , 12th August 2003
Retailers and caterers across the country are being encouraged to hoist the flag for British Food Fortnight this September.

Specially created bunting, featuring the Union Jack interspersed with the striking British Food Fortnight logo, is being made available to ensure that outlets taking part in the event are dressed for the occasion.

The fortnight gets underway September 20th, in line with traditional harvest festival celebrations. To date, over 4,000 pubs, shops and restaurants across Britain have registered there interest in the campaign by requesting the special self-help packs, which give advice on stocking regional food and writing menus that reflect where the food is sourced from.

Alexia Robinson, organiser of the event, says, "The bunting is the ideal way to show that your event or promotion is part of a wider national celebration of British food and drink. Last year, The Food Lovers Fayre in Covent Garden was swathed in it and even the Harrods Food Hall requested some!"

Available at £5.30 for a 25 ft length, please contact the Event Office on
020 7840 9292 or alternatively email
The website carries up to date listings of events.


For further press information and/or quality food shots please contact
Siobhan Meaker / Gerri McNally
Field McNally Leathes Ltd Tel: 01273 834716 Fax: 01273 834306

Blackberry season starts early, 20th August
The most democratic crop in Britain has started producing the earliest and richest harvest in decades, after perfect growing conditions over thousands of acres of scrubland, hedge and roadside verges.
The Rubus fruticosus, or the common blackberry, has matured almost a month earlier than the usual season sung by Keats in his "mists and mellow fruitfulness" ode to autumn.

"It''s a truly wonderful year," said Joan Cremer of the National Summer Fruits Association which has seen earlier and heavier punnets of everything leaving commercial farms for the market. "There are big smiling faces on the faces of growers - and as far as blackberries are concerned, that''ll mean the faces of people who go picking as well."

The pastime, usually linked with the back-to-school period, has seen pickers out for the last three weeks in the south, and just starting forays in the north where berries began turning black last week.

"It''s been textbook weather for them this year," said Jim Arbury, fruit superintendent at the Royal Horticultural Society''s gardens at Wisley. "They had the moisture when they needed it, in the spring, and then the long, hot, dry spell. If they get a bit more rain soon, that could extend the season as well.

"The bramble is a very tough and successful plant," added Mr Arbury. "It''s disease resistant, not choosy about its soil and spreads by putting down stolons, or roots from its runners."

The fruit is also freely available, although a spokeswoman for the National Federation of Women''s Institutes warned pickers to be careful of traffic, and, occasionally, of landowners'' privacy. Jill Brand, author of five cookbooks used by WIs, said: "The best blackberries are usually a bit away from the road or path anyway - they''ll be less likely to be polluted, as well as tastier."

Summer Curd

225g or 8oz blackberries, 100ml or 4 fl oz ruby port, 75g or 3oz unsalted butter
75g or 3oz caster sugar, 3 medium eggs

Cook berries and port over gentle heat until tender. Let cool for 30 mins, put through sieve and discard seeds. Put in bowl over pan of gently simmering water. Add butter, sugar, and heat gently until butter melts, sugar dissolves. Beat eggs, sieve into bowl, cook, stirring for 15 mins, until it coats back of spoon. Pour into warmed jar. Place waxed paper on top. When cold, cover and put in fridge. Use within a month.
Jill Brand

Source; The Guardian

Local Foods: Niche market or explosion waiting to happen?
In the top-ten wish-list for supermarket shopping in 2003, number three was selling local foods, topped only by lower prices and more price promotions. April’s Consumer Watch, produced by the Institute of Grocery Distribution, finds that 63% of consumers see local foods as those produced fairly close-by, either 30 miles from where they live or buy the food from, or from the county they live in. It also finds for the majority of consumers, ‘localness’ and patriotic emotions are not sufficient to encourage them to buy local foods: quality of the food is key.


Public Sector Procurement of Food and Drink in the South West
A report by the South West Local Food Partnership (SWLFP), it presents findings of research identifying routes of supply of catering services into schools, the drivers and barriers existing in a number of regional case studies, and makes recommendations for future work.

Worcestershire County Council: Taking forward food policies together
A study to enable the County Council and partners to have information on and understanding of existing activity, policies and research in one document. The findings have also been analysed to identify opportunities and business needs and recommendations made for taking food policies forward in a co-ordinated way. One of the recommendations of the research is to set up a ‘Worcestershire Food Links’ to coordinate food activities and policy in the county.

Royal Parks to ‘green’ catering; July / August 2003Oliver Peyton’s planned 200-seat ‘Inn the Park’ restaurant, which will open in London’s St James’ Park next spring, will exemplify a move by the Royal Parks Agency (an executive agency of DCMS) to ‘green’ its catering operations across the capital. Food ingredients will be organic and seasonal, sourced from small producers which must pass annual inspections, and this information will be passed on to diners. The restaurant will source its seafood from MSC approved fisheries, and some meat and poultry will come from the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

Source; Caterer and Hotel Keeper

Local Food and Public Procurement Research:
Identification of market opportunities for local food and drink producers to supply the public sector in Dorset 58-page report with the overall aim of identifying market opportunities that will assist local producers of food and drink to make effective and competitive bids for contracts let by public sector purchasers in Dorset with a particular focus on opportunities over the next five years. The main opportunities identified for local producers by this study relate to high quality, fresh and/or value-added products, flexible delivery options and personal service. Many instances were identified of local food being purchased by the public sector and there is evidence of potential to increase the scope through the spread of best practice. Request report

Source; Local Food: Report on Qualitative Research

Food Standards Agency Report
A report from April by the Food Standards Agency containing the findings of qualitative research into public attitudes to local food, using twelve group discussions involving eighty three participants. The report’s summary states “Local food isn’t just one simple monolithic thing. The public do not have a standard definition, and the sector embraces various layers of criteria and appeal......Published literature about local foods often seems appealing and potentially useful, but the information hasn’t seemed to register much locally, even where it appears well provided. Consumer knowledge of local provision and initiatives is patchy and generally poor, even amongst shoppers who are well-disposed to local food”. Download the report by Clicking here.

Pubs boost the rural economy, 8th August
Judges of the East Hampshire Local Food Competition for pubs and restaurants, held during the Hampshire Food Festival, unanimously voted the Selborne Arms, at Selborne, their winner Jointly organised by the CPRE, Hampshire Fare and East Hants District Council, the event was part of CPRE Hampshire''s local foods campaign. Chairman, Stephen Harwood, explained: "The object is to encourage landlords to use local foods and build stronger links with farmers. We hope even more pubs and restaurants will take part next year." The Selborne Arms won plaudits for the excellence of its menu and the variety of local produce used. The judges felt it entered wholeheartedly into the spirit of the competition. Landlord, Nick Carter, said: "By using local produce, you really can make a positive contribution to Hampshire''s rural economy and its environment." Christopher Napier, chairman of CPRE East Hants Group, and Tim Brock, of Hampshire Fare, presented a framed certificate to Nick and Hayley Carter on Monday morning. Highly commended were Paul and Georgie Stuart, licensees of The Good Intent, Petersfield and Dick Orders, manager of The Bat and Ball, Clanfield. Just missing out were: The Bull, Bentley; Chairmakers, World''s End; Cricketers, Steep; Horse & Jockey, Hipley; Queen''s Hotel, Selborne; The Red Lion, Chalton; Ship & Bell, Horndean; Three Horseshoes, Worldham; White Horse, Colemore.

Source; Hampshire Chronicle

Northern Times, 8th August
Lairg sale set to keep its crown as sheepmen back their local mart Sutherland''s only livestock auction market will again be the focus for the Scottish sheep industry next week when almost 25,000 North Country Cheviots come forward for the famous Lairg lamb sale. Europe''s largest one-day sale of sheep, on Wednesday August 13, has attracted 3000 more lambs than last year, the auctioneers revealed this week. They said numbers are now getting back to what they were before the foot and mouth disease crisis. There was no sale at Lairg in 2001 when the FMD restrictions were at their height, and when it reopened last year there were words of caution fromUnited Auctions. Some producers had bypassed the mart and sold their lambs
privately, and the company warned they would only invest further at Lairg if they were given the support of the crofting community. This week David Leggat of United Auctions in Perth, who will lead the teamof auctioneers in the marathon selling session, said: "It is very encouraging that local lamb producers are supporting their local market by entering such a high consignment. "By all accounts it has been a very good season locally and the lambs are in tremendous condition. Because of the scale of the event, Lairg tends to set the trend for the autumn lamb sales." The majority of the lambs are from farm assured flocks and over 90 per cent are EAE accredited under the Highlands and Islands Sheep Health Association scheme, he said. Of the total entry, nearly 18,000 are wether lambs with 7000 ewe lambs providing an opportunity for buyers to purchase first class North Country Cheviot breeding stock. "There is no substitute for the auction ring to set the price and provide complete transparency of a value set by supply and demand," said Mr Leggat. "The auction system is a vital link in the livestock industry, no more so at centres like Lairg where it provides a valuable collection, sorting and
dispatch facility." The Lairg sale on Wednesday will be the second such event in the northern counties that week for United Auctions, who will also be selling 10,000 lambs at Thurso on Monday, August 11. With the sheep sector so important to the Highland economy, it is expected that Highland Council convener and local councillor Alison McGhee will be attending the Lairg sale, as will other leading figures from the Scottish farming industry.

Policy paper by the Working Group on Local Food
Drawing on the Working Group on Local Food’s report, Local Food: A snapshot of the sector, this new paper discusses the overlaps between local and regional food, looks at the claimed benefits of the local food sector and the rationale for public support, and sets out the framework within which such support will be given.

EU to demand protection of food names at Cancun; 26th July
The EU is demanding the right to retain the use of certain speciality food and drink names at the WTO’s ministerial meeting in Cancun in September. The meeting is seeking to agree principles on how to further liberalise trade, but the European Commission will seek to recuperate to exclusive use of certain names [No names from the UK are on the list for Cancun, after the UK government requested Stilton to be taken off -ed], a commission official said “We’ve been usurped of the names and we want them back”. The commission insists it is a ‘disgrace’ that wafer thin prosciutto ham made in its native Parma has to be marketed as ‘super-ham’ in Canada, because a Canadian company holds the copyright to the Parma name. Countries which are likely to support the move include India, which want protection for Darjeeling tea, Thailand for jasmine rice, and Guatemala for its coffee. Those countries expect to oppose the move include the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina.

Source; The Guardian

Welsh Lamb wins EU quality award
Welsh lamb joins Cornish clotted cream, West Country farmhouse cheddar cheese and Stilton cheese on the list of 34 UK products recognised by the European Union for their quality and regional identity. It has been awarded the designation of ''Protected Geographical Indication'' under the Protected Food Name Scheme, meaning that only lamb which has been born and reared in Wales can be marketed as ''Welsh Lamb'' within the EU. Lord Whitty said: "This registration is excellent news for producers of Welsh lamb, who now have deserved recognition for a high quality product." Source: DEFRA, see news release 299/03 for more information, including a list of the 34 UK products already awarded the status, see also Strategy for support for regional food .

Good Food on the Public Plate
A comprehensive manual for those wishing to introduce better quality and more sustainable food and practices into the public sector. Developed by Sustain and East Anglia Food Link, the publication includes a review of food and catering in the public sector, considers what ''sustainable food'' is, has a detailed exploration of the procurement legislation, guidance for suppliers wishing to supply the public sector, advice on good catering practices, and a toolkit with over a hundred links to useful organisations, recipe ideas and seasonality charts, a model sustainable procurement strategy, various checklists, and much, much, more. Hard copies of the manual are available from Sustain on 020 7837 1228 or Click here.

Call goes out for 1,500 farmers who want a guaranteed market - 30th JulySOARING demand for Welsh meat has led St Merryn Foods to launch a Welsh Producers'' Club. The company announced last week that it was looking for 1,500 farmers across Wales to join the club in order to meet customer demand for meat reared on Welsh hillsides. The producers'' club, which will be run from St Merryn''s ultra-modern plant at Merthyr, will enable the company to source cattle and sheep direct from producers in Wales while offering an assured income for hundreds of farmers.
"It will provide the consumer with traceability and guaranteed quality as well as offering a range of benefits to the farmer," said procurement manager John Dracup.
Mr Dracup said that since St Merryn opened the Merthyr plant in 2001 it had experienced a notable rise in the demand for Welsh products.
"We only moved to Wales relatively recently and what''s vital is the importance of our Welsh branding for customers and farmers," he said.
]"We have built consumer awareness and it''s now reached a point where there has started to be recognition of Welsh beef in particular."
Mr Dracup said Tesco, the company''s main customer, had already increased its demand with the launch of a Welsh Finest Beef range and a Welsh Hill Lamb range.
Sales of the Welsh Finest range have already exceeded forecasts and more quality cattle are now needed to meet the demand.
St Merryn has also been exporting Welsh beef to Holland and other countries in Europe since last autumn and expects this demand to increase.
"This is a way of securing the market both for farmers and for ourselves in a far more transparent manner than has traditionally been achievable," said Mr Dracup.
"With this club farmers will be able to understand what we are doing as processors and will be able to get a grasp on the whole marketing process, not just the small area that directly involves them."
St Merryn is making potential club members a special introductory offer which includes assistance with transport and a premium on the first consignment. They will also receive a complete package of benefits as well as a guaranteed market for their stock for 52 weeks of the year.
The new club was warmly welcomed by NFU Cymru director Malcolm Thomas, who said it was evident that modern consumers recognised the quality of Welsh beef and lamb.
"St Merryn''s producer club incentive will enable farmers and producers to meet that demand," said Mr Thomas.
"Today''s world is all about reacting to the marketplace and have an excellent product which we need to couple with the ever-increasing

Pig farmers accuse supermarkets of lying over meat''s origins, 29th July
SUPERMARKETS have again come under fire from pig farmers for selling their customers imported pork products masquerading as British as a result of loopholes in the labelling laws.

Producers have warned the offending outlets that if they do not clean up their act they face "a summer of discontent", with picketing of stores and blockades of retail distribution depots as happened a few years ago. Farmers claim that a significant number of consumers are committed to buying British pork because of its higher welfare standards. They say it is a "shoddy trick" when stores attract customers by pretending to support British food - and then selling them products deliberately dressed up to mislead.

But last night a spokesman for the British Retail Consortium, which represents the major supermarkets, called pig farmers'' claims "poppycock" . He said: "We are getting a bit frustrated about all this because the pig farmers cannot substantiate their claims. They are rolling this out without any evidence."

He conceded that there might be problems in the catering industry. According to the British Pig Executive, pork imports have increased substantially in recent years. In the first four months of this year alone they show a rise of 29 per cent compared with last year. Much of this meat is going into processed products such as cooked ham and bacon although an increasing amount is being sold as fresh pork, much of it claimed to be produced to UK specifications.

BPEX chairman, Stewart Houston, who farms near Ripon, said: "Retailers use tertiary brands as a flag of convenience. They claim they don''t have any say in whether the contents are British or imported but that''s just a feeble excuse.

"We know they are powerful enough to insist - if they wanted to - that all the brands they sell are honestly labelled. We have had to put up with this highly misleading technique for years and we''ve had enough." National Pig Association chairman, Richard Longthorp, who farms at Howden, near Goole, said: "Producers have seen their prices plummet by over 15p per kilo over the past few weeks. Not only have levels of imported pork on the shelves significantly increased but some of the labelling seems to have gone back to the shenanigans of five years ago." He called the practice "morally corrupt".

The NPA has sought early meetings with all major retailers to express its members'' concerns. It also intends meeting Food and Farming Minister, Lord Whitty, and Sir Don Curry, who heads the group overseeing changes under the Government''s Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food.

Source; Yorkshire Post

£5 billion boost to local economies through local, sustainable food in public sector catering, 17th July Using local food in our school, hospital and prison canteens would boost local economies by at least £5 billion and create many local jobs. This is one of many findings of ''Good Food on the Public Plate''; Sustain and East Anglia Food Link ''s new ''manual for sustainability in public sector food and catering''. The manual, launched today (Thursday), is a definitive guide for those wishing to introduce sustainable food policies and practices into the public sector. Click here to read in full.

Local food worth £5bn to farmers, 17th July
CONTRACTS for local food from public sector buyers like schools and hospitals could inject £5bn into local communities, according to two food and farming campaign groups. Sustain and East Anglia Food Link have published a report and manual which argues that the potential benefits of using local food in the public sector are huge.

Public sector buyers spend about £2bn a year on food for hospitals and government departments, says the report. But demand for local food would also create new jobs and business opportunities, so could lead to a boost for local communities of at least £5bn.

Society would also benefit because people would be eating better food and there would be less diet-related disease, it adds. The document, which is called Good Food on the Public Plate, includes three key recommendations to promote local food procurement. It suggests the government should seek changes to EU rules so buyers give equal weight to environmental, social and economic criteria when assessing tenders.

The introduction of a new UK law which requires local authorities to incorporate sustainable development into food procurement is also recommended.

The final suggestion is that the Treasury should provide money to pursue local food policies.

The document has been endorsed by 48 organisations including the Soil Association and Family Farmers Association. The foreword, written by the chair of the Sustainable Develop-ment Commission, Jonathan Porritt, urges farmers to rise to the challenge of
supplying local food. "Getting organised and geared up to meeting these needs locally requires a real shift in mindset," he said. "As it happens, there are government grants to help here, promoting improved collaboration and marketing, but basically it''s up to farmers themselves to seize this very different opportunity."

Guidance for suppliers wishing to supply the public sector, advice on collaborating with others and an explanation of how public procurement works, are all included in the report.

Source: Farmers Weekly Online

Waitrose wins ''local'' award, 11th July
WAITROSE has won the Rural Action award for its Locally Produced initiative, which encourages small producers to supply it with high quality food. The supermarket received the award on Thursday (10 July). It was presented by Business in the Community, an organisation that encourages companies to improve the impact they have on society. Judges said the Locally Produced initiative had enabled Waitrose to extend its range in response to customers'' demands for high quality local food. They also increased annual turnover and boosted the economy of many small producers in rural areas

Source; Farmers Weekly

£5 billion potential boost to local economies through local, sustainable food in public sector catering
Buying local food for use in our school, hospital and prison canteens would boost local economies by at least £5 billion and create many local jobs. This is one of the many findings of ‘Good Food on the Public Plate’: Sustain and East Anglia Food Link’s new ‘manual for sustainability in public sector food and catering’. The manual, launched on the 17th July, is the definitive guide for those wishing to introduce sustainable food policies and practices into the public sector. More information available on 020 7837 1228

Source: for online ordering.

Local Food: Benefits and Opportunities report, Relocalising food could revitalise the SE economy
A new report by Caroline Lucas MEP and Dr Andy Jones. Highlighting case studies throughout the UK where local food supply has proved profitable, successful and highly beneficial to consumers, it demonstrates that relocalising our food supply is not only viable, it is essential. The many stages of food supply are examined – from pre-production to plate – showing that local food supply is the only basis on which to build sustainable farming systems.


Burger bribe for going to school, 17th JulyChildren have been given burger bribes to attend school – despite health fears over high fat foods. McDonald’s gave vouchers to pupils at Cornelius Vermuyden School in Canvey, Essex, who turned up every day this term.

Source; Metro

Relocalising food procurement briefing: How a ‘local first’ purchasing policy can boost farm incomes and cut food miles
Report from a round-table discussion organised by Friends of the Earth to examine how Government food purchasing in Northern Ireland might be re-localised to the benefit of farmers and the environment.

Download the report from

London and South worst for healthy eating in schools
London and the South seems to be the worst region for healthy eating in schools, with only 41% of schools encouraging healthy eating, the lowest figure in the UK. Schools in the region are the most likely to have vending machines, which can probably be blamed for a much higher consumption of chocolate – with 40% of children spending money on chocolate compared with 28% nationally. Only 57% of parents in the region through school meals were satisfactory compared with an overall average of 63% and children were the least interested in learning to cook and the least likely to exercise.

Source: Fruit and Vegetables Market, research from ‘Cooking and Eating Habits’ report (£799) from Key Note.

Definitely buy local Devon milk; 26th July
DEFINITELY Devon, the south-west dairy co-operative, is launching a major television campaign to encourage consumers to buy local milk. The £50,000 campaign, believed to be the biggest spend on local food product television advertising since the late 1990s, will be aired in the west country from 23 June. The advert will star one of the co-op''s own members, Peter Lake of Nomansland, near Tiverton, Devon, who will also appear on the new packaging designs for all Definitely Devon milk.

Source: Farmers Weekly

Dunning’s Delicious Dinners
Annabelle Ewing MP has asked ‘That this House congratulates Dunning Primary School on the creation of its own company, Dunning''s Delicious Dinners, which grows its own fruit and vegetables to be used for school dinners; notes the success of the company for both their enterpreneurship and also the decision to undertake a healthy eating strategy within the school; and further commends the production of their booklet charting the experiences of creating the company which could be used as a motivational influence for other schools to consider.’

Source; Hansard

15 million – number of visits to farmers’ markets each year.

Source: The Ecologist.

British spud bus hands out Israeli potatoes,7th JulyA bus promoting home-grown potatoes pitched up at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire – and handed out Israeli spuds. Local farmers were outraged to find rival potatoes were being promoted. The British Potato Council’s bus distributed potatoes from the Middle East, despite being intended to promote British produce.

Source: The Independent

Better Food for Our Children
A parents'' group in Denbighshire has managed to improve the quality of school meals. The group, called Gwell Bwyd I''n Plant (Better Food for Our Children) has instigated the removal of all processed chicken foods, such as chicken dippers, from the menu at Ysgol Betws Gwerful Goch school. The parents wanted locally grown, nutritious and traceable produce which also would benefit the local producer, community and economy. The parents of Gwell Bwyd I''n Plant are now hoping to expand their campaign to ensure other children in Wales benefit from better school meals.


% of Tesco’s turnover spent on locally sourced produce - 1%

Food fit for a Queen Fifty years ago, faced with the need for a dish at once simple and luxurious that could be prepared in advance to feed guests at the Coronation, Constance Spry invented Coronation Chicken.

She folded chunks of cold poached chicken into a creamy mayonnaise flavoured with onion and curry paste, sweetened it with puréed apricot and added lemon juice for astringency. The result, deservedly, was regarded as a classic.

It is easy to forget, too, now that it more often fills sandwiches than furnishes feasts, that, in 1953, Coronation Chicken was a real treat. Curry paste was a relatively exotic recent addition to the nation''s larders; chicken, and the eggs in the mayonnaise, were still luxury items in an age of post-war rationing.

Today, with hormone-stuffed, pallid and water-injected supermarket chicken breasts one of the nation''s cheapest forms of protein, battery eggs and processed mayonnaise ubiquitous, and curry powder the basis of the nation''s most popular dishes, it would be a disservice to Constance Spry - and to Her Majesty - to suggest a repeat of the dish.

An alternative for 2003 would need, like the original, to be something exotic, expensive and seldom tasted by the ordinary person. It would need, at the same time, to have a simplicity, a lack of faddishness, that would allow it to enjoy the same long run of popularity as its predecessor.

In a Britain ravaged by foot and mouth, constrained by European health regulations, blighted by intensive methods of raising livestock, and addicted to convenience food, it is time to reinvent the wheel.

Coronation 2003 deserves grass-fed Scotch beef, properly hung, marbled with fat and roasted blood-rare. It should be accompanied by Yorkshire pudding, Irish new potatoes, grated horseradish and the most delicious leeks Wales can supply. The rest is just gravy.

Surprises Galore in Store at the York Festival of Food and Drink!
If you visit York this September between 12 and 21, you could be in for a big surprise! The York Festival of Food and Drink will once again grip the ancient City with a flurry of gastronomic activity bringing the very best of food, drink and cooking skills from around the region into focus.
Click here to read in full.

Food: What are we really eating?
Click here to read this and other related articles

Source, The Guardian

The needs of angry peasants and prosperous consumers are combining to bring the era of industrialised food to an end: ''Farewell to the Giants of Greed'':
Click here to read in full.

Source, The Guardian

Food has four seasons
Matthew Fort on why the policy of ''cheap'' food is a dangerous myth and how to break away from it Click here to read in full.

Source, The Guardian

There is no need to eat dinky French beans from Zimbabwe in February, when you can have purple sprouting broccoli from just down the road at half the price. We have to change our shopping habits, our cooking habits, and maybe our social habits as well. We must expunge the mantra of "cheap food" from our minds, and substitute "good food" instead - buy by quality, not price; buy in season not according to marketing pressure. We have to break the habit of one-stop shopping once a week - shop locally and shop often, searching out local suppliers, stocking up at farmers'' markets, farm shops and specialist suppliers. And if you are working too hard, have it delivered.

Source, The Guardian

British Season
What is in season when...a guide to Britain''s seasonal food: Click here to read in full

British beer goes down well in the US, the French like our cornflakes and the Spanish have a taste for our shellfish... Click here to read in full

Source, Financial Times

Local Food; A snapshot of the sector
This report by the Government''s Working Group on Local Food looks at the current status of the local food sector, considers the benefits of local food, examines the range of definitions, and the policy implications for government.


Tesco to source extra produce
Supermarket chain Tesco yesterday announced it was sourcing an extra £15m of produce from British farmers. The company said that by introducing new methods it had helped farmers to extend their growing seasons. It meant the supermarket would this year buy an additional 19,000 tonnes of potatoes, 490 tonnes of strawberries and 150,000 kilos of cucumber from British farmers which it would otherwise have imported. Steve Murrells, fresh produce category director at Tesco, said: "Britain is well known for its poor weather and erratic climate but by working with suppliers we have developed new ways to beat it. "Extending the season not only benefits British farmers by increasing their yield but it is also good news for customers and the local economy.

"Previously our suppliers relied on seasonal workers but now they are able to employ people all year round." Northumberland NFU chairman and Alnwick farmer Stoker Frater said: "This can only be a good thing. We can only survive if people buy British and any increase in sales is excellent news. "We would like to see supermarkets sourcing as much as they possibly can from British farmers, because we can provide the housewife with traceability and the food is not travelling so far." The announcement comes a week after Asda launched a £1.3m campaign to put more British labelled produce on their shelves. This initiative follows pressure from industry leaders and politicians for clearer and more accurate country of origin labelling. Under the campaign, called Good Honest Value - Celebrating Home-grown Produce - Asda will label its produce with new logos featuring a big Union Jack and the word British in over 250 stores across the UK. Also, the country of origin of imported products will be clearly labelled, and the produce of the EU label ditched.

Source, Newcastle Journal - Anna Lognonne

DEFRA guidance for purchasers in central government departments
Defra has produced guidance for purchasers in central government departments and agencies on integrating sustainable development into food and catering contracts.
This can be read in full at

Survey reveals British are confused about their food
New research by research company Taylor Nelson Sofres for the NFU shows most Britons have lost touch with where their food comes from. Nearly 90% don''t know that beer is made from barley, a fifth don''t know yoghurt is made from milk and, shockingly, more than one in 10 people think we grow rice in the UK. The survey also revealed less than two in 10 people know that three quarters of the UK''s land surface is farmland, with two thirds never having met a farmer.

Children ''being raised on ready meals''
British children are being brought up on a diet of convenience foods, according to a survey.
It found children are eating on average 107 ready meals each per year, with the figure rising to 133 for 11 to 16-year-olds.


Asda pledges support for British farmers, 24th April
Asda, the UK’s third largest food retail group, has unveiled a new programme designed to promote British food and drink products.

The new Buy British campaign was launched at Asda’s annual farming conference in Leeds, and will feature the tagline ‘Good, Honest Value - Celebrating Home-grown Produce’.
Asda said the campaign would boost sales of British meat, produce and dairy products throughout its chain of 259 stores, with the aim of increasing income for its farmer suppliers. The Buy British campaign is also designed to educate shoppers about the origins of their food.


Survey reveals British are confused about their food
New research by research company Taylor Nelson Sofres for the NFU shows most Britons have lost touch with where their food comes from. Nearly 90% don''t know that beer is made from barley, a fifth don''t know yoghurt is made from milk and, shockingly, more than one in 10 people think we grow rice in the UK. The survey also revealed less than two in 10 people know that three quarters of the UK''s land surface is farmland, with two thirds never having met a farmer.


DEFRA guidance for purchasers in central government departments
Defra has produced guidance for purchasers in central government departments and agencies on integrating sustainable development into food and catering contracts which can be viewed here.


Tony Blair backs ‘Buy British’ for schools and hospitals
Prime Minister Tony Blair is backing plans to make schools, hospitals and local councils spend more on British food. Exact targets will not be announced for at least two months, but negotiations are already under way. Don Curry, who leads the implementation group said ''Work on setting targets for the amount of home-produced food used by local authorities in meals in schools, hospitals, and local government offices has already begun''. Mr Blair has also made available the Prime Minister''s Delivery Unit to help monitor the progress towards achieving the targets.

Source, Farmers Weekly.

New survey shows high demand for British food
According to a recent survey of 1000 Brits by market research company Mintel, half of consumers try to buy British when shopping for meat, rising to almost three-quarters of those aged 65 and over and 44 per cent of adults when shopping for fruit and vegetables, while almost a third look for British fish. According to the survey, albeit small, three in ten consumers would buy more British produce if it were available, again this rises to over 42 per cent in the 65 plus age group. Over a fifth complain that supermarkets do not carry enough British-grown fresh fruit and vegetables, with 13 per cent objecting to having to buy fruit and vegetables grown in other countries. The report also highlighted the increasing popularity of farmers markets in the UK with almost a quarter of British consumers (23 per cent) claiming to shop at farmer''s markets/farm stores to buy locally grown produce. Women are considerably more active than men in buying local produce with 27 per cent shopping at farmer''s markets compared to 19 per cent of males. Some 14 per cent of consumers claim that they would not know where to go to get locally grown produce.