When trawling around the supermarket aisles it would appear that the average UK shopper is becoming increasingly patriotic.
According to a recent survey of 1000 Brits by market research company Mintel, half of consumers try to buy British when shopping for meat, rising to almost three-quarters of those aged 65 and over and 44 per cent of adults when shopping for fruit and vegetables, while almost a third look for British fish.
The survey reveals that the patriotic shopper is more likely to be aged 65 or over and slotting into the financially better off AB socio-economic group.
Mintel reports that research suggests a considerable degree of frustration among shoppers who are willing to buy British but are unable to do so because the produce is not stocked by their retailer. According to the survey, albeit small, three in ten consumers would buy more British produce if it were available, again this rises to over 42 per cent in the 65 plus age group. Over a fifth complain that supermarkets do not carry enough British-grown fresh fruit and vegetables, with 13 per cent objecting to having to buy fruit and vegetables grown in other countries.
A further 12 per cent of shoppers resort to buying meat from other countries when British meat is not available, while 11 per cent of adults feel that supermarkets do not carry enough fresh British meat.
"While such attitudes may not necessarily translate into action, it would appear that demand for British produce is greater than supply," commented James McCoy, consumer analyst at Mintel.
The report also highlighted the increasing popularity of farmers markets in the UK with almost a quarter of British consumers (23 per cent) claiming to shop at farmer's markets/farm stores to buy locally grown produce. Women are considerably more active than men in buying local produce with 27 per cent shopping at farmer's markets compared to 19 per cent of males. Some 14 per cent of consumers claim that they would not know where to go to get locally grown produce.
"This may be due to a shortfall of information, labelling et al by retailers and perhaps a lack of effective advertising by local fruit and vegetables producers," added James McCoy.
Parallel to the increase in demand for locally sourced foods is the rise in demand for foods sourced from around the world to meet the increasingly sophisticated tastebuds of consumers. Mintel predicts that a balance will be struck between year-round availability and buying local/British. Future developments, claims the report, may lead to the creation of regional brands which will appeal to consumers who are purchasing local produce to support their local economy and boost regional identity.