The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, Rt Hon David Miliband
MP, Secretary of State for the Department for the Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs and celebrity chef Lesley Waters from BBC's
Ready, Steady, Cook, have today launched (Tuesday 9 January) the
Country Land and Business Association's (CLA) Just Ask campaign
at 10 Downing Street.
The CLA's Just Ask campaign will encourage the public to ask where
the food on their plate comes from whenever they're out for a meal – whether
in a hotel, restaurant, pub, canteen or fast food outlet. The campaign
is designed to increase public awareness of the origin of food
to enable people to make an informed choice about the food they
David Fursdon, President of the CLA said: "Just Asking where
the food on your plate comes from is the first step in raising
awareness of British food. Too often a chef, waiter or proprietor
won't know. We intend to change that and, in the process, use consumer
pressure to help ensure that we end up with more British food on
our plates, increasing the amount of local suppliers and producers
in the UK food chain. British food ensures British farms and local
producers have a future and can continue to provide the countryside
we all enjoy."
Environment Secretary David Miliband said: "Whether you are
eating in a roadside café or at a Michelin star restaurant
I think there is something satisfying about knowing where the food
on your plate comes from and the sense of connection that comes
from eating local food."
Lesley Waters said: "We need to teach the next generation
to care where their food comes from. Buying British food and sourcing
local, seasonal produce insures that we have a viable farming industry
which maintains the countryside we love. Why choose apples from
South Africa when you could be choosing from a seasonal variety
from Great Britain? This won't happen overnight it's going to be
a slow-burn but we have to start somewhere."
Frank McKay, CEO, Brakes, said: "Brakes is pleased to support
the 'Just Ask' campaign. As the UKs leading supplier to caterers
and a major purchaser from British producers, we are committed
to offering our customers products that are not only of the highest
quality, but have the integrity and traceability behind them that
enables caterers, and in-turn consumers to make an informed choice."
Ian Crawford, Group Commercial Director, 3663, said: "At 3663
we have been working hard to tackle the long-standing issue of
providing locally sourced food to local people. Our initiative
helps connect the chef and consumer with these local products.
Chefs prefer to use local ingredients, but it has always been hard
to make this a financially viable option. Every additional supplier
adds a significant cost to a traditional wholesaling operation,
in time, administration and deliveries into depot. Once the cost
has been adjusted to accommodate these extra expenses, the availability
of locally sourced goods becomes too expensive.
"We have found a way of handling local produce through food
hubs, which limits additional costs and enables us to offer locally
grown and locally made foods at competitive prices. In addition
this will offer the benefits of full traceability and quality,
plus a reliable source of supply."
Caroline Cranbrook, from Suffolk who was awarded an OBE for services
to the red meat industry in 2006, said: "Consumers are asking
for an informed choice. Mankind has been hunting and gathering
for hundreds and thousands of years but we've only been shopping
for food and eating out relatively recently and lost connection
with the land. All the research I have done shows that the British
consumer is anxious about their food and wants to be reconnected
with food and where it comes from. What's interesting is that in
the last year alone, I have found that people want to buy local
food because of the food miles - this has risen rapidly to the
top of their agenda as a new concern."
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