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Survey shows public wants to protect British food in trade deals

12th Jul 2021 / By Alistair Driver

A new survey by OnePoll has demonstrated the strength of feeling among the British public when it comes to upholding the UK’s high food standards in trade negotiations.

BattersThe survey, commissioned by the NFU, showed 85% of people want future trade deals to protect UK farmers from being undercut by cheaper, sub-standard food imports.

An overwhelming 86% said trade deals should ensure animal welfare standards for imports are the same as the UK’s, while 84% felt it was important that environmental farming standards also match our own. 

The survey results also show an unwavering support for British food and farming as the record-breaking level of support reached at the start of the pandemic has continued this year, with 75% of people voicing a positive view of UK farming. The values British farming represents are the top reasons for this support, with respondents citing the quality of UK produce, high animal welfare standards and environmental work as key reasons.

The OnePoll Farmer Favourability Survey was undertaken by 2000 adults across England and Wales between June 17 and 22. Other findings from the survey include:

  • 75% of respondents said they trust British food more than food from the rest of the world.
  • 84% of respondents support clearer labelling of British food.
  • 73% of the public often or always look specifically for British food when shopping. This is the highest figure seen to date since the start of the survey in 2012.
  • 88% of the public that feel that it is important that Britain has a productive farming industry.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “It’s fantastic to see record-high support for British food and farming maintained over the course of what has been a challenging year for everyone, and to see our environmental and welfare credentials recognised alongside an appreciation for quality food.

“As the government develops its new agriculture and trade policies, as well as its first ever UK food strategy, this is a clear message from the British public that they value and trust British food.

“They have demonstrated time and time again that animal welfare and sustainability are not things they are going to overlook, whether it’s food produced here or overseas, and it’s important that these values are at the forefront and embedded in every policy decision.

“The survey results are clear – no one wants to see UK farmers being put out of business by food imports that fail to meet our own high animal welfare and environmental standards.

"Yet this remains a real risk, especially if future trade deals with the likes of New Zealand, Mexico, Canada and the USA – all major exporters – allow tariff-free access to our markets. It’s hard to not think the Australian deal has set a precedent but multiple deals in the same vein will have serious and lasting impacts on Britain’s ability to produce its own food."