A recent study from food standards authority Red Tractor suggests that 84% of British consumers choose to buy food products specifically because they are from the UK, while a separate study from PRS found that a third would pay more for these products because of their local provenance. The British brand is clearly very important to consumers, so how are food and drink brands taking advantage of this?

For some, the ‘British’ label is important for environmental reasons; consumers don’t want to import from overseas because of food miles and instead choose to buy locally.

Others pursue British products because they aim to support local businesses, or because of a sense of pride surrounding British produce. Perhaps most importantly, ‘British’ is seen as shorthand for ‘quality’. Bodies such as Red Tractor have helped to restore faith in British food following the BSE and foot-and-mouth crises, with British agricultural produce now some of the most monitored in the world. These various factors combine to make ‘British’ a very powerful tool that can help elevate a product above its foreign competitors.

Cow foot and mouth

Several brands have recognised the renewed power of the British brand within the food industry. Since 2012, Lidl has proudly proclaimed that all of its fresh beef, pork and chicken comes from British producers. Meanwhile, McDonald’s sources 100% of the beef used in its burger patties and 100% of its potatoes from British and Irish farmers. Sugar brand Silver Spoon shouts loudest of all, boasting no fewer than 9 times on its packaging that it is “the only sugar grown in Britain”.

What these brands have recognised is that a combination of British provenance and British values can make an instant connection within British consumers. The reasons for choosing a British brand over a foreign one are varied, but it is clear that now more than ever, UK consumers are seeing extra value in produce from their own back yard. If FMCG brands can make effective use of this trend, they stand to see the trust, loyalty and value proposition associated with their product continue to rise in 2016 and beyond.