UK supermarket J Sainsbury plc recently pledged to dramatically decrease the amount of imported organic food sold in the UK.
In a statement one of the UK's leading supermarkets announced that two primary organic areas, Meat and Dairy (excluding Continental cheeses), both of which have a direct impact on the farming sector, will be 100% British sourced by January 2004.
The UK industry average for imported organic food is 70% (Soil Association Food and Farming Report 2001). Sainsbury's currently imports 60% of the organic food range, and as part of the 'Buy British' policy is looking to decrease this figure by a further 15% to 45% by January 2004. According to the statement this policy aims to ensure that wherever possible, Sainsbury's will offer British sourced organic food in addition to British sourced conventional foods.
Ian Merton Sainsbury's Trading Director announced this week at the Soil Association's National Conference in Harrogate on 25-27 January: "The company is fully committed to reducing the amount of imported organic food we offer our customers. We are concentrating on developing partnerships with UK farmers, suppliers and research and development organisations to increase the amount of British grown organic food we sell amongst our overall British range. Sainsbury's has been buying British for over 130 years and has a long standing policy to support British farmers by purchasing and promoting British products."
Sainsbury's last week announced its support for the The Organic Targets Campaign. A UK led action plan to help get farming back on its feet and meet the demand for organic produce in the UK currently met by imports.