Why it is important to buy British - Business Works
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Why it is important to buy British

by Sam Wass, Co-founder, Great British Meat Co There are many benefits to 'buying British' including a reduction of imports and therefore a smaller carbon footprint, providing employment for people and engendering a more sustainable and self-sufficient country. Yet the costs for choosing British can be higher. Sam Wass, Co-founder of the Great British Meat Co, explores the UK food industry and examines what small steps can be taken to benefit Britain without breaking the bank.

In August 2013, the National Farmers' Union released a report highlighting how Britain produces less than two-thirds (62%) of the food the country consumes, a figure that has decreased from 75% in 1991. This statistic sits heavily with me, as Iím sure it does with many UK food businesses trying to make a living. While food imports have done a great deal to develop and benefit the industry, being constantly undercut by cheaper imports is a growing concern for most producers and retailers. I find it alarming that more canít be done to make Britain sustainable in an age where we have improved technologies for farming, yet we suffer from major skills shortages and have an employment deficit. Also, as an island, it is logical that we shouldnít rely so heavily on imports of everyday essentials. Common sense tells us that it should be cheaper to grow and raise food in the UK rather than import it from overseas, yet this so often is not the case.

alarming that more canít be done to make Britain sustainable

The recession has prompted mass money-saving efforts across the nation, with many consumers constantly looking for cheaper deals, but at what price? Understandably, job cuts and rising fuel prices means many of us have felt the pinch. However, if we continue to look outside of our country for products to feed us, how can we ever attempt to fully recover and make Britain great again?

One case which shook the country and, I believe, demonstrates we are too aggressive in our search for cheap commodities, is the horse meat scandal earlier this year. Whilst I do not condone the use of horse meat, it is unsurprising that 'inferior product' is used in mass produced 'value' products. Obviously, as a meat retailer selling UK-reared cuts, I understand the cost of good quality meat and, for many families, it can be perceived as a luxury too far. That said, there are no rules saying we have to eat meat every day. Buying quality meat not only results in a tastier meal, but tends to go further. Plus sale profits go straight back into our farming eco-system, stabilising jobs.

Thanks to campaigns from the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and others, we are beginning to see a wider selection of cheaper sustainable fish to choose from in the UK. By observing seasonality too, we can enjoy a varied diet of 'in season' fruits and vegetables, which havenít travelled thousands of miles to reach our plates and so are at their tastiest.

While buying British may appear to be expensive, some of the alternatives really are a false economy. On the supermarket shelf it may cost more to buy British chicken, but a plump British chicken breast is probably double the size of an imported Asian one that has been pumped full of water! The British chicken will go twice as far and have a more enjoyable flavour.

If we all took time to consider the distance our food travels to reach our plate and made a concerted effort to choose British more, not only would we safeguard employment, but we would see prices begin to fall and more employment opportunities become available.

For more information about the Great British Meat Co, please visit: www.greatbritishmeat.com

The Great British Meat Co is an online butchers that understands that buying British has never been as important, which is why it can track every steak, chop or shoulder back to the farm where it was reared. Whether looking for the everyday essentials or something a bit special Great British Meat Co can deliver straight to the door of any home or business nationwide.

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