The huge banners showcasing British produce in many supermarkets are inaccurate, according to an investigation by the Sunday Mirror.
An investigation by the paper found discrepancies at seven retailers, including Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Waitrose, Lidl, Asda, Morrisons and Aldi.
Tesco and Asda branches, for example, cited specific British farmers in banners sitting over produce grown abroad. At M&S meanwhile, a “Best of British” Union Jack logo, alongside a photograph of raspberries, promised: “Best of the season.” However, the “country of origin” for the raspberries on the shelf was Portugal.
Customers at a London Lidl were promised “Red Tractor assured produce (100% British, of course)” – but there were Colombian bananas and Costa Rican pineapples amongst the goods from the UK.
Indeed, in most cases, homegrown offerings were there too, the paper reported, but surrounded by foreign produce. “You can’t say this is anything other than misleading,” said Jack Ward, head of the British Growers Association.
Only M&S admitted the display was out of date. The others claimed they marketing was not misleading and reiterated their support for British farmers.
A poll by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board last year found that 70% of shoppers want more British food in stores. However, a relatively small increase of just 10% could result in 30% of shoppers opting for a lower-priced import
The Sunday Mirror’s report is available here.
The AHDB research is available here.