With the current uncertainty about our relationship with Europe, we wanted to know whether the UK population care about where their food and products comes from. Are we accepting of products from outside the UK? Does our attitude towards product origin change depending which products we’re talking about?
We ran a split test by description, asking if our consumers would buy three different types of beef pie: beef pie made with UK beef, beef pie with no origin label, and beef pie made with EU beef. These are the results:
Similarly, we ran a split test by image: one with a British flag, one without a flag, and one with a European Union flag. Here are the results:
The results for both steers show that there is a preference towards British-sourced beef. Food retailers such as The Co-op and Waitrose back the UK farming industry and promote British-sourced food. The Co-op claim that 100% of their fresh meat is sourced from British farms. Sainsbury’s meat counter also boasts 100% British meat. This shows that not only do consumers prefer British meat, but supermarkets and retailers see a competitive advantage to provide this.
We also ran a simple choice steer asking what consumers would buy from a choice of British red wine or French red wine. This is what we found out:
The results are consistent with what we expected from the public: French wine is preferred. Around 7 to 8 billion bottles of French wine are produced each year. Supermarkets stock a healthy variety of both red, white and rosé wines from France, and online retailers such as winedirect.co.uk offer a large selection.
Ultimately, our favouritism towards British meat stems from a long agricultural tradition, and supermarkets back this culture. Fresh produce is important to consumers and the retailers stocking it, with locally-sourced ingredients a key factor. However, our red wine experiment shows that British people aren’t turned away from products sourced outside the UK; a good percentage of the British population won’t turn down a glass of Merlot. France has long been established as one of the leading wine countries in the world, and this view is still shared by our consumers.