UK's food cupboard is bare, say farmers

13 August 2013

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14 August 2013 | Adam Leach

If Britain was reliant only on the food it produced at home for a year, it would run out today unless action is taken to boost production of the domestic supply chain, according to farmers.

Calculations by the National Farmers' Union of England and Wales found that if all the food produced this year was stored and eaten from New Year’s Day, stocks would run out on 14 August. The NFU is using the finding to call for the country to become more self-sufficient – just 62 per cent of food consumed in the UK is produced domestically.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: “We have all learned the lessons of long, complex supply chains and retailers are all telling me that they want to work with British farmers to ensure their shelves are stocked with more British produce. We currently import around £37.6 billion of food and drink. We are a trading nation, but at a time of economic uncertainty a strong food producing industry is essential.”

The NFU is calling for members of the public, the food industry and MPs to show their support for strengthening food production in the country by signing a charter. It quoted a One Poll survey that found 78 per cent of shoppers would like to see more British food on shelves and 42 per cent are more likely to buy traceable food from British farms following the horse meat scandal.

In recent months, a number of food manufacturers have increased their support for British produce. In June, Birds Eye committed to sourcing 100 per cent of its beef from British and Irish farms. In July, Sainsbury's announced that it would source all of the pork used in its own brand products from British suppliers.

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