English breakfast fails to be truly English

Less than half of the ingredients used to make a full English breakfast are produced in the UK, data has shown.

Figures from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have revealed that, in 2012, only 45% of the ingredients in an English breakfast were produced in the UK. In 1997, 57% of an English breakfast was produced in the UK and in 2011 it was 48%.

The revelation follows last week’s launch of the National Farmers’ Union’s (NFU) ‘Back British Farming Charter’. According to the NFU, the UK would have run out of food before now if it was relying on its own produce.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: “We need to look closer to home. Right across the board farmers have a fantastic natural capacity to produce more British food, given the right market signals and the confidence to invest.”

Meanwhile, a breakdown of the figures showed that, in 1997, 69% of pork products in an English breakfast were from the UK and, in 2011, the figure dropped to 49%. However, last year only 45% of the pork in a full English breakfast was produced in the UK.

Such a dramatic reduction in the amount of UK-grown pork on the plate has added weight to the National Pig Association’s (NPA) argument that more needs to be done to support UK pig farmers.

Earlier in the week, NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies accused UK retailers of shirking away from UK pork suppliers, saying several pork, bacon and gammon lines had been switched back to imported products, which was a U-turn on post-horsemeat scandal promises.

“Since the heat has come off the horsemeat scandal we’ve started to see retailers sliding back from the strong British position they publicly adopted, and import more European product,” she said.

Furthermore, Dr Davies announced the NPA’s support of the NFU’s Charter last week. She said that 60% of the pork eaten in the UK, including sausages and bacon, was imported from overseas, which drew more attention to the cause.

Dr Davies added: “Consumers expect supermarkets to deliver on their post-horsegate commitments to shorten their supply chains by buying safe food produced in Britain. If they think they can return to their old habits as soon as our backs are turned, they had better think again, because we won’t let this matter drop and nor will our friends in the National Farmers’ Union.”

Info-graphic courtesy of Cosford Caravans