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Waitrose Backs Buy British Farming Campaign

NFU2UK grocery chain Waitrose and the country’s National Pig Association have thrown their support behind a National Farmers’ Union campaign that promotes local food and British farming.

Currently the UK produces just 62 percent of the food it consumes. British food supplies would have run out on Aug. 14 if all the food produced in Britain in a year was stored and eaten from Jan. 1 on, according to the NFU. As a result the NFU is calling on politicians, supermarkets, food processors, retailers, restaurants and cafes to sign a charter calling for a commitment to put British farming “at the heart” of feeding Britain.

The Back British Farming Charter calls for:

1. Government to back British farming by supporting farmers in their challenge to produce more food to feed the growing country, which, according to the NFU, is experiencing the biggest baby boom in 40 years.

2. Retailers to stock more British food and work with UK farmers to develop beneficial relationships.

3. Caters, chefs and restaurants to source more British food.

4. UK citizens to buy more British-produced food and to encourage politicians, retailers and restaurants to do the same.

Waitrose is the first grocery chain to sign the pledge. The company says that all its fresh meat — chicken, beef and pork, including bacon, ham and sausages — is British, as are its eggs and milk. The majority of the vegetables the retailer sold last year were also from the UK, it says.

The National Pig Association says that currently around 60 percent of the pork products eaten in the UK are imported through “sometimes tortuous supply chains.”

With encouragement the NPA say that British pig farmers could be persuaded to step up production to the whole country’s benefit.

In May, Waitrose announced a goal to cut its packaging in half by 2016 compared to 2005 along with other changes to its products that the UK supermarket chain says will save about 100 metric tons of packaging each year.

Last October, the grocery chain achieved its target of sending zero food waste to landfill two months ahead of schedule.

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