British Bounty Day – Morrisons announce the peak of the British produce season

Today is the peak day of the year for availability of British food according to Morrisons supermarket. Over 13 million pieces of fresh British produce will be on the stores’ shelves today – that’s enough for a portion of fruit and veg for every child in the UK*.

Over 146 lines of British produce are available today including 22 lines of potato, 17 lines of mushrooms and seven different varieties of cabbage. The reason for this abundance is our 2011 climate: this summer’s weather was changeable – sometimes seeing a combination of sunshine and heavy downpours, often on the same day, in early summer. This helped vegetables to grow quicker, so Britain’s main crop is in season up to 10 days earlier than usual. Morrisons is one of the largest food producers in the country, so they have used information from their own farms and fields to pinpoint today, Thursday 25th August 2011, as the most bountiful day for British produce to appear on the supermarket shelves.

Lincolnshire** is one of the most bountiful counties in the UK and along with Lancashire, Cornwall and Worcestershire it is providing the most fresh British produce in store. This will surprise most people outside London as almost half (48%) of Brits believe their own home county provides the most fresh produce.

Even though more than one in ten consumers in Lincolnshire (13%) struggle to identify British produce on the shelves and only 10% believe supermarkets support British, buying it is increasingly important to shoppers. Over two thirds (70%) of people actively look for British produce on the shelves and according to just over a quarter of people questioned (25%), buying British this year is a more important choice than when food shopping five years ago.
Top reasons to buy British include supporting British businesses and farmers (78%), knowing where food comes from (62%) and a better taste (31%). But despite the fact that when in season British produce is at its most affordable, only 7% choose it because it’s believed to be cheaper.

Louise Welsh, Morrisons Head of Agriculture said:

“Thanks to our huge network of growers we have identified today as the best day of the year to eat British. As buying British becomes increasingly important to shoppers we’ve increased our volumes of British seasonal fresh foods. On August 25th Morrisons will have 146 lines of fresh British produce to choose from on shelf all day as the final week of August proves to be the best time to eat our very own, nationally sourced, fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables.

This includes non-traditional British produce which shoppers wouldn’t expect to be grown in the UK, like Morrisons courgettes from Lincolnshire.”

*Based on ONS 2010 data of children under the age of 16 in the UK (11.8 million)

**Being a Lincolnshire lass born and bred – it is no surprise to me that Lincolnshire is a place of plenty :)

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