Co-op backs UK chicken farmers

The Co-operative Group is extending its support to British farmers by converting all its own-label fresh chicken to British sources from last week.

All the Co-op's fresh beef, pork and duck is already British, but the community-based retailer's support for British meat and poultry is being extended to include all its own-label fresh chicken.

The Co-operative has carefully selected a small group of dedicated British farmers to embrace the retailer's own higher-welfare Elmwood standard for fresh whole chickens, which means the birds are nurtured for longer in more enriched environments. This will be extended to all the Co-op's fresh chicken from early next year.

In response to increasing customer interest in the provenance of food, the retailer has launched a campaign championing British food - not only meat, but a whole range of foods sourced from the UK. The campaign is being backed by national TV advertising,

Throughout autumn, Co-op stores will also feature point-of-sale material highlighting the provenance of food. In a survey by the retailer to gauge British consumers' attitudes to home-grown food, more than two thirds of ­respondents claimed a strong sense of pride in the UK's unique culinary heritage. Three quarters of people think British food is wholesome and hearty, with winter nominated as the best season for eating British. The most popular meal - by age, region and gender - was the Sunday roast.

Guy McCracken, chief executive, food retail, said: "We are committed to supporting British farmers and all Co-op fresh meat and poultry is now British. This is important to our customers, who are also increasingly interested in the seasonality and provenance of the food they buy."