Co-op is delighted to be the official sponsor for Love British Food Fortnight. We know food provenance really matters to our customers, which drives our
enthusiasm to invest in the UK economy to provide an opportunity for British food to have pride of place in our British aisles.
The Co-op has a long history, tracing its roots back to 1844, and has been sourcing goods from across the United Kingdom since our inception. We continue to be a major supporter of British farming and home produced foods, trading with almost 2,000 UK farms and have over 500 suppliers from across the UK. In addition, we directly employ over 70,000 people and are owned by and answerable to 8 million UK shoppers.
British products are the ‘staples’ of our stores, and we go above and beyond many other retailers to make it easy for our customers to choose British – from fresh beef, chicken, pork and sausages to the meat in our sandwiches and chilled pies and ready meals.
We also aim to invest further in the UK economy by building on our current commitments to source more British goods. We believe that this investment amounts to £500m annually, and we aim to match or exceed this target for each of the next three years.
British sourcing matters not just because it contributes to the UK economy and employment, but also because consumers expect it. It offers reassurance and helps them trust food security and sustainability and of course, a viable agricultural sector is also essential to feed the UK’s growing population.
Shoppers say that supporting British is important to them, they want to see the UK have a sustainable farming industry and there is a huge groundswell of support and enthusiasm for more British food in shopping aisles. Consumers also demand strong pledges from supermarkets on sourcing from UK farms as home-grown products instil greater confidence, appear more traceable and, above all, are important to the vast majority of today’s shoppers.
The foods or products shoppers most want to be British sourced are fresh meat, milk, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and fresh fish. The Co-op is committed to stocking more UK sourced fruit and vegetables, alongside a policy of ONLY selling 100% fresh British beef, chicken, ham, pork, sausages, duck and turkey, stocking 100% British milk, supporting British Lamb when in season, only using British meat in all chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches** and ensuring labelling proudly promotes British sourcing.
Consumers believe that supermarkets should do more to support UK farming with 88% saying that more should be done to back farming. The Co-op works in partnership and, therefore, supports almost 2,500 farmers and suppliers throughout the UK to source our meat, poultry, dairy and fresh produce. We have a long-term commitment to support a sustainable farming industry in the UK and promote quality British food products.
A Co-op survey* found 73% of consumers have more confidence in British sourced food, 86% feel food is more traceable when produced on British farms and 84% say buying British sourced food is important to them. So the expectation exists and food retailers have to meet this challenge presented by shoppers. Co-op directly addresses these issues and, with 2,800 stores across the UK, the commitments we’ve made can absolutely have a significant and positive effect on what Britons eat and the way we think about food.
*Opinion Matters conducted research for Co-op between: 7 and 13 October 2014. Sample: 2,050 UK adults
**excluding continental ready meals featuring a continental meat variety e.g. Chorizo