Some of the country’s most influential chefs are being urged to source and serve up more British food and back British farming, the NFU have said.
NFU Vice President Adam Quinney will tell an audience of 250 foodservice professionals that they are in prime position to help reverse the decline in the nation’s food self-sufficiency which has fallen to 62 per cent.
“Foodservice, I know, is a diverse market, from schools, hospitals, high-street chains, hotels and restaurants, to oil rigs and football stadiums, and Michelin starred restaurants,” Mr Quinney will say.
“The sector is an important customer of British farming. You buy £10 billion worth of food every year and some of that is British. But there are definitely opportunities for that to increase and get more British food on more British plates.
“As caterers serving the best standard of food you can, I know quality and value is important to you, as well as knowing that the product you buy has been safely produced to high animal welfare and environmental standards. Let’s remember all British food is world class, 75 per cent of which is inspected under the Red Tractor Farm assurance scheme, and our recent Back British farming campaign showed that the support from the public is there.
“And what systems producers use – whether organic or conventional – farmers are acutely aware of the need to manage natural resources; water and soil health being the most important. Farmers want thriving farms to pass on to the next generation so managing natural resources is imperative. What we want to see is both sectors functioning side-by-side in a marketplace that values both the quality of each product and supports British farming.”
Andy Foot, NFU beef group chairman, will also address delegates at the festival.
“We need the confidence to invest to help deliver a prosperous food industry which serves the needs of customers now and in the future. If we don’t get that, then farm businesses will be lost and imports will fill the gap left behind. I don’t want farming to go the same way as so many other industries in this country. Agriculture is one of the few remaining great British institutions that contributes to our landscape, environment, economy, culture and tourism.
“That’s why I would urge all chefs who care about British food to pledge their support today to our industry, sign up to the Charter and Back British farming.”