Sunday, 9th June 2013 and Waitrose Littlehampton hang out a specially commissioned sign announcing their proud support for British Farmers.
It’s the sort of thing the UK consumer loves – ethical shops like Waitrose supporting local farmers.
As a Waitrose Shopper, I see Waitrose as being probably the only near-ethical supermarket in the UK. However, this sort of blatant misleading claims by Waitrose really does need to be challenged.
Outside the Store, the above proud declaration. It’s enough to make you reach for your Union Jack handkerchief and wipe away a tear from your eyes as you imagine our local farmers finally getting a decent price and fair treatment from the UK’s supermarkets.
But once inside the store, wipe away any teary mist from your eyes and have a quick look at the fruit and vegetable packing to see where most of it originates from.
Far from supporting British farmers, the majority of all the fruit and vegetables in my local Waitrose store comes from comes from abroad.
I appreciate you’d be hard pressed to find a UK grower, let alone a local grower for bananas and pineapples, but what about such everyday produce such as onions and potatoes?
And it’s not just Onions, most of the ‘fresh’ vegetables in Waitrose were from far flung places including Egypt, Kenya and Israel to name but a few.
Surely some farmer in West Sussex is capable of growing spuds for the local supermarkets?
I wonder how many air miles does it take to import a bag of common garden spuds from Israel all the way to Littlehampton when there are lots of farmers capable of growing these quite literally on our own doorstops?
A couple of years ago I had a long chat with a local farmer who told me he grew his vegetables for the Dutch market, shipping all his produce by road to the Netherlands where he achieved a far higher price from the wholesalers and wasn’t tied to what he refereed to as the ‘commercial handcuffs’ applied by the UK Supermarket chains.