Always a good time to buy British food

From: Jim Gilbert

Chapeltown, Sheffield S35

People have been complaining recently about the government buying trains from abroad, instead of from a UK manufacturer, but how many of us bother to check where our food items come from when we do our weekly shop?

In recent years British and multi-national food companies and supermarkets have been transferring manufacturing from the UK to the continent right under our noses and with unemployment at 2.5million we can ill afford this loss of jobs. And think of the damage caused to the environment by trucking thousands of tons of chilled and frozen products from France, Germany or even further away.

Sheffield is full of caring people, we care about the kids leaving school with no job prospects, we care about the families struggling with rent or mortgage repayments because of unemployment, so if we all make an effort we can make a difference and the rest of the country will follow.

It is quite feasible to stop this drain and bring employment back to the UK if we all aim to fill our shopping bags with UK produced food. Shopping does take longer when you have to look at where things are made and with children in tow its not easy, but you can check one item, say yoghurt this week, remember the UK made items, or make a note. Then check breakfast cereal next week and so on.

UK made products are often cheaper – for example yoghurt made in Yorkshire costs less than French and Yorkshire butter is cheaper than Danish. Some UK made items e.g. mayonnaise, may be more expensive than foreign, but the total cost of a UK made shopping basket should not be much different.

One problem is that many manufacturers of branded products don’t put the country of manufacture on their packaging, so you have to ring a care line number (often free) to find out. To their credit supermarkets usually do give this information. With yoghurts and chilled products you can look for the initials ‘UK’ in a small circle on the packaging. Besides the items already mentioned here are some others to check – many frozen products including pizzas and desserts, soft cheese, cheese triangles and slices, pickles, sauces, salad cream, crackers, chocolate bars, and probiotic yoghurt drinks.

So let’s save jobs and help the environment by putting our combined shopper power to good use before it’s too late. With British Food Fortnight starting on September 17 now is a good time to start.