East of England: Farming delivers big appetite for British food, survey shows

More local food please, we’re British – that’s the strong message from people across the East of England as the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) launches a major new campaign to highlight farming’s contribution to the British economy.

A new survey shows that:

• More than three quarters of the East of England public (77%) think Britain should be more self-sufficient in food

• The same percentage believes supermarkets should sell more British food

• Eight out of 10 people (80%) across the region actively look out for British food at least sometimes – and 30% always look out for British food, where available.

The results come from a OnePoll survey commissioned by the NFU as it launches its new campaign today – Farming Delivers for Britain.

The aim is to highlight the key role played by an industry that employs 40,000 people in the East of England, generated output valued at almost �3 billion in 2010 and manages three quarters of land in the region.

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NFU President Peter Kendall will kick-start the campaign at a launch event on a boat on the River Thames at Westminster this afternoon. He will unveil a major new report, Farming Delivers for Britain.

Mr Kendall said: “Britain’s self-sufficiency in food has dropped by 15 per cent in the past 20 years but I know everyone can do their bit by enjoying a more seasonal diet and eating more British food when it’s at its best. Our message is simple: ask for British food. Make it British, make it local and make it happen.”

The report sets out the main themes of the campaign – food, the economy, animal welfare, the environment, careers, and cleaner energy.

NFU regional director Pamela Forbes said: “This report showcases what farming delivers for Britain but also the potential that exists in areas such as green energy, job creation and economic growth.

“Farmers in our region have the fertile farmland, skills and the public support to build on today’s economic success story. We believe there are exciting times ahead for agriculture in the East of England and the survey shows the public agrees. More than three quarters believe farming will be more important in the future.”

More information about the campaign will be available from the NFU at Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk shows in June. There is also a new website – www.farmingdelivers.co.uk