Shropshire Star

Support for British farming is welcome but not without challenges, says Shropshire farmer

A Shropshire farmer has offered a cautious welcome to MPs' calls for supermarkets to back British produce.

Oliver Scott

More than 100 MPs signed an open letter calling on retailers to incorporate a ‘Buy British’ section on their online stores to highlight the very best of British produce.

Oliver Scott, of Bradford Estates, welcomed the call but said the aspiration was difficult to achieve due to modern consumer habits and the current pressures on their weekly spend.

"The world of convenience we live in is the biggest barrier to drives like this," he said.

"We all expect to get exactly what we want when we want it.

"When we have an economic downturn we need to be sure people will spend their disposable income on British produce as they come under pressure over money.

"In their hearts and minds people want to support British produce but when it comes to spending their money will they be prepared to potentially pay more for British?"

He added there is confusion over British-produced and British-packed products.

"It may have come from overseas and then can carry the Union Jack on the packaging because it was packed here," he said.

"Is there a need for the major supermarkets to support 'local local'?

"If we want to eat strawberries from supermarkets in Shropshire, should they not come from producers in the immediate area?"

He added: "When it comes to digital transactions, I know my sister buys her shopping online and selects as many British products as possible, only to see them substituted for overseas produce if the UK food is out of stock.

"If it is local produce from local producers, the system needs to flag up the opportunity for the consumers and be clear about the origins.

"Any support for UK farming is welcome but it has to be driven by the consumer and their demand to potentially pay more to support the farming around them."