Best of British

Millions of adults are convinced food products carrying the Union Jack are made with 100 per cent British ingredients – and were shocked to learn this isn’t the truth. 

A study of 2,000 Brits found despite common ingredients such as eggs, meat and milk being readily available, 63 per cent feel misled by supermarkets after learning that products with the British flag could also contain ingredients from outside the UK. 

To learn such food products with the Union Jack on have been made with components from outside the UK, people feel misinformed (42 per cent), annoyed (28 per cent) and shocked (21 per cent). 

The research was commissioned by British Lion eggs and found many consumers have bought food items with the Union Jack flag on because they thought it meant they were supporting British farmers (37 per cent). Others have done so because they believed the symbol meant it was locally sourced (28 per cent) and better quality (27 per cent). 

Eggs were the top ingredients Brits would expect to not be imported because they are so readily available here, followed by potatoes and milk. 

Of the 66% who stated whether or not they preferred British over imported, two-thirds said they prefer British ingredients. 

Half believe British is best because there will be fewer food miles and others think the carbon footprint will be reduced (45 per cent). 

But 68 per cent do not think it’s clear enough on food products where the ingredients are sourced from and 43 per cent are not confident in knowing where food items in supermarkets originated. 

Andrew Joret, Chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, said “It’s clear from the research that the British public are confused about what the Union Jack symbol on food products means.  

“Unfortunately, it can appear misleading to learn that not all products with the flag include 100 per cent British ingredients.

“It’s likely people buy these items to support the local economy and farmers as well as believing they generate fewer food miles.

“The poll shows more needs to be done about educating shoppers on what food labels mean and to encourage food brands to use all British ingredients when so many of them are readily available here.”  

Where food goods are made (47 per cent), where ingredients are sourced (43 per cent) and nutritional information (29 per cent) are the top pieces of information Brits need to be made clearer on labels. 

As a result, 64 per cent would like to see clearer labelling on goods when it comes to where the ingredients are obtained. 

Half of those polled via OnePoll would happily pay more for food products made with British ingredients than those without – an average of 19 per cent more. 

And 43 per cent argued UK farmers are losing potential business if ingredients such as dairy and meat are being imported from other countries. 

Andrew Joret, continues: “It’s clear consumers want and expect retailers to use British ingredients in foods, and find the current labelling confusing. 

“Using British egg ingredients and adding the British Lion mark to food containing eggs is an easy way to keep customers happy and show them that the eggs are British and meet the highest food safety standards.”