A report released today (Friday 19 May) by the National Farmers Union (NFU) and trade body UKHospitality (UKH) outlined the importance of sourcing British food and how doing so can add value to your brand.
UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It's really clear that customers do take note of provenance and will pay more for it, [enabling businesses] to charge a premium when margins are tight.
“Can you notch that margin up by serving Yorkshire lamb or Welsh Lamb and Scottish beef in season at the right point in time.
“Labelling it as such does suggest you'll be able to deliver that premium price point for your consumer and get a better margin; exploiting that surely is better for all.
“The supermarkets are very good at doing that and marketing it, we should be better at doing that in hospitality businesses.”
Based on figures from research commissioned by the NFU with CGA by NIQ in 2022, the report showed 65% of consumers were more likely to visit a venue with British sourced ingredients.
Additionally, 87% of consumers wanted to support British producers while nine out of 10 people perceived locally sourced items to be higher quality and fresher.
Moreover, 58% of consumers were more likely to pay more for a meal if the provenance of the main ingredient was promoted while 56% would pay extra for a dish where the main food item had been sourced from British farmers.
The data also indicated consumers expected products labelled as locally sourced should be from within 50 miles of the venue.
Younger people were cited as having a tighter definition of the term local, while one in five older people were willing to accept British as local.
NFU president Minette Batters said: “British farming, food and hospitality are intrinsically linked, and this report sets out our vision on how British food can add value to hospitality brands and why they should build the farming story into their business.
“We really wanted in the first instance to tell the story, and to bring these case studies to life to show what is going on and show the scale of opportunities.”
The report also showcased a number of case studies, including pub operator and brewer Greene King.
Exploring the sustainability link between hospitality and farming, Greene King stated both industries had a “collective responsibility” to work together.
The pubco added it had a near term “science-based” target of 50% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 and a commitment to be net zero by 2040.
Greene King chief communication and sustainability officer Assad Malic said: ‘‘We must work collaboratively with our suppliers and their suppliers to find ways to transition to a more sustainable lower carbon farming system.
“Consumers increasingly want to understand the provenance of food served to them and its impact on the environment. British farmers are uniquely placed to tap into the hospitality market.”
Looking at a more independent level, another case study featured in the report was the Triangle pub in Powys, Wales.
Triangle licensee Rob Lewis explained the pub sources from neighbouring farms and businesses, making the establishment “synonymous with quality, fresh food that brings customers back time and time again”.
Nicholls added: “One of the things that has really bedevilled the sector as we've come out of Covid is disruption and a lack of resilience in businesses and in the supply chain.
“Trying to build back resilience into businesses is the most important thing as we're going forward.
“Local supply chain relationships and more resilient supply chain relationships will be an important part of that.”