Food-conscious South Holland in the dark over Red Tractor scheme
The majority of people in South Holland are unaware of a food label that promotes British produce – despite the fact that they want to shop for local goods.
New research has revealed that, despite media efforts, a third (33 per cent) of consumers in the district are unsure of what the Red Tractor assurance scheme is and a similar amount of people have NEVER heard of it. Only 36 per cent say they know what the scheme - which provides an assurance that food is born, grown, prepared and packed in the UK – actually represents.
The news comes from a survey commissioned by online retailer AO.com, which found consumers in the region are passionate about where their food comes from, with 62 per cent of them believing they should be shopping locally.
About 35 per cent of the nation’s food passes through South Holland and more than 50 per cent of the district’s jobs are linked to agri-food, so it’s perhaps no surprise that people in the district are passionate about their produce.
Shoppers mainly want to buy locally because it’s better for the economy, improves the environment, and they see it as patriotic, according to the survey.
Reasons for wanting to buy locally (for people in the East Midlands): Better for the economy – 43 per cent; important for the environment – 38 per cent; better tasting – 32 per cent; more ethical – 27 per cent; shows pride in my area/patriotic – 24 per cent.
Consumers are even willing to pay more for locally-sourced produce. Some 53 per cent of consumers would be happy to pay more to a local food supplier. On average, people in this region would pay 15 per cent more for local produce
There is still a way to go before local produce makes up the majority of our food shop, however. Some 42 per cent think it’s IMPOSSIBLE to only buy from locally sourced providers because there aren’t enough outlets – despite the fact that areas such as South Holland have a range of popular farm shops.
Graeme Willis, Food and Farming Campaigner for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said: “It’s hugely encouraging that more and more people are aware of the value of buying locally-sourced produce and willing to spend more on local food. In these challenging times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused about what we can do to help. But our choices about the food we buy make a real difference to where and how our food is produced and to the impact it has on people and planet.
“Buying local is a great way to cut plastic use, reduce transport of food - especially air freight – to cut carbon and eat more seasonally. It’s a great way too to enjoy some of the freshest, tastiest and most wholesome food around and to try amazing varieties and flavour. Not least, people are beginning to realise it’s a fantastic way to support people in their community passionate about the food they provide and to form new connections with the land and landscape where they live.”
What are we doing to be more ethical with our food? More than a third of people in the East Midlands (35 per cent) are buying loose products instead of using bags; over half (56 per cent) are taking their own plastic bags when doing the food shop in order to reduce plastic; 21 per cent will only buy products with plastic free packaging.
David Lawson, managing director at AO.com commented on the new research:
“As consumers are becoming more conscious about their carbon footprint and the need to help the environment, attention has turned to the food they’re buying and how far it has travelled to get to their kitchens.
“People are realising that buying from local providers, whilst more expensive, can provide better quality produce which is also better for the environment.
“Our campaign ‘From Farm to Fridge’ details the journey that some common staples in the average UK fridge have taken to get there, highlighting the food products which are racking up the air miles.”
You can take a look at the 'From Farm to Fridge' campaign here
More by this authorJeremy Ransome