Co-op celebrates British Food Fortnight

The Co-op Group will be running a roadshow across England, Scotland and Wales to highlight its British credentials. The retailer is the official sponsor of the Love British...

The Co-op Group will be running a roadshow across England, Scotland and Wales to highlight its British credentials. The retailer is the official sponsor of the Love British Food, a campaign to promote food produced in the UK.

Since 2002, Love British Food has been showcasing UK products through the British Food Fortnight, from 17 September to 2 October. To mark the event, the Group will be giving customers across its 3,000 outlets the chance to meet producers, taste food samples and learn more about British food.

Cathryn Higgs, Food Policy Manager at the Co-operative Group, said: “At Co-op, we are so pleased to be the sponsor of Love British Food and this fortnight feels like the culmination of all the exciting activity and hard work through the year.

“Co-op are very proud of our British credentials from product and ingredient sourcing to our support of British farmers through the Co-op dedicated farming groups, the levels of investment we make into British sourcing and the increasing amount of locally sourced products in our stores. With a store in every single postal area of Britain, we are local to everyone who wants to support and buy British food.”

This year the fortnight seeks to help promote British food sourcing, particularly in light of Brexit. Alexia Robinson, founder of British Food Fortnight, explained: “Britain’s food production is one of the areas most affected by Brexit. This is a watershed moment for British food. Subsidised and regulated for 40 years by Europe, our farmers will now be competing in a global market place. British food is produced to the highest standards; it really is some of the very best in the world, and the opportunities to trade on this in the global market are immense.

“But building the brand ‘British food’ starts at home and it is more important than ever that we excite the British public to buy it. We need to give farmers the confidence to continue to invest in innovation and quality thus ensuring our food security and a robust supply of quality domestic food. British Food Fortnight has been flying the flag for British food for 15 years; we now ask the Government to join us in promoting the qualities of British food to the consumer; and – as part of their Brexit planning – to make it a priority that schools, hospitals and all Government organisations lead the way by sourcing British food.”

Chef Raymond Blanc, who is British Food Fortnight ambassador, will be part of a judging panel that will choose the most imaginative event celebrating British food. This year’s theme is rediscovering long-forgotten recipes. The winner will receive a Love British Food trophy and a tour and breakfast at Raymond Blanc’s hotel, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, £250 worth of vouchers and a champagne case from the Group.

Deputy president of the National Union of Farmers Minette Batters welcomes the initiative, which, he said, could help promote the British food industry. 

He added: “I am delighted that British Food Fortnight is working with the farming industry for its autumn campaign Celebrate Great British Food. It’s a perfect time to highlight the quality, nutritious affordable food that we as farmers and growers produce for feeding the nation and playing our part in feeding the world.

“But it’s also a chance to promote the fact that we don’t just produce food – our industry provides much more to Britain. The food and farming industry is worth £108bn to the UK economy and employs 3.9 million people. As farmers we manage our vibrant landscape, caring for 71% of the UK.

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that our industry is at the forefront of the minds of shoppers and our decision makers in government – they have an important role in shaping the future of our industry for generations to come.”

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