UK

Ocado latest grocer to add ‘Buy British’ tab to website

The retailer said searches for ‘British produce’ was up 77% year on year while 87% of customers considered it important to support British farmers.

An Ocado delivery van
Ocado An Ocado delivery van (Ocado/PA)

Ocado has joined Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Morrisons by adding a “Buy British” tab to its website following a call for supermarkets to support local farmers.

Ocado said the new “Best of British” aisle offered more than 800 products from UK farmers and growers – ranging from shiitake mushrooms and sweetcorn to steak and kefir.

The retailer said searches for “British produce” were up 77% year on year, while 87% of its customers considered it important to support British farmers.

The move follows an open letter written by Conservative MP Dr Luke Evans and signed by 125 cross-party MPs to the chief executives of eight major supermarkets asking for a filter which would direct shoppers to homegrown food to help boost the economy and cut the UK’s carbon footprint.

Dr Luke Evans (David Woolfall/UK Parliament)
UK Parliament portraits Dr Luke Evans (David Woolfall/UK Parliament) (David Woolfall/UK Parliament/PA)

The letter was signed by representatives from all the main political parties in England and Wales. It said that the “small change” would give “customers greater autonomy over their food choices” and could boost seasonal eating.

Dr Evans said: “It’s great to see the industry realising the value of my campaign for a ‘Buy British’ section online, which came after local farmers told me the best thing we can do to support them is buy British produce.

“Ocado has been proactive in making changes that not only support our nation’s farmers, but also make it even easier for consumers to buy homegrown produce. Not only is this good for our food security but it’s good for the environment as Ocado’s customers can cut down on unnecessary food miles.

“I’m pleased supermarkets like Ocado have made this meaningful change and look forwarding to seeing others follow their lead.”

Ocado Retail chief commercial officer Amit Chitnis said: “Our Best of British aisle comes in response to rising demand from our customers for more homegrown produce.

“Where we can, we will always try to source locally as our first choice whenever possible. So, we’re proud to have gathered a range of over 800 quality products that are British all year round in an easy-to-shop aisle on site spanning fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs and dairy.”

Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Steve Barclay said: “UK farmers produce food to exceptional standards and it is great to see supermarkets celebrating this home-grown produce and making it easier than ever for customers to back our farmers by opting for British food.”