Most shoppers would rather buy British beef, chicken and other meat than foreign imports, a survey has shown, underlining that the "buy local" ethos remains strong.
The YouGov poll findings also raised questions over whether manufacturers are doing enough to market their British or regional credentials when selling produce in shops and supermarkets.
According to the report, 59 per cent of consumers preferred to buy meat and poultry produced in the UK, and 48 per cent would opt to buy locally sourced meat.
And when buying locally sourced meat, more than a quarter of consumers said they were happy to pay more for it, although 39 per cent of consumers were swayed by price more than anything.
The food and drink industry is a vital and growing sector in Devon and Cornwall, and the Western Morning News has campaigned for consumers to "buy local" for more than a decade.
John Sheaves, chief executive of Taste of the West, which promotes produce made in the Westcountry, said while it was pleasing that food provenance was high on a shopper's agenda, both the industry and the Government could do more to give consumers an "informed choice".
He said: "We have spent the last 20 years pushing the 'buy local' message, particularly small producers.
They have added value to their product by developing their own brand. But that is less the case at the commodity end of the market in terms of meat and dairy.
"But the 'buy local' message seems to be holding up despite the economic downturn and, sometimes, confusion among consumers about what comes from the UK and what does not."
Rob Cushen, YouGov consumer consulting director, said: "Our research clearly shows that there is demand for locally, regionally and UK-produced foods.
"The question is to what extent food and drink manufacturers are successfully promoting the provenance of their ranges through advertising and packaging.
In order to capture this opportunity fully, food and drink companies need to review and research their current and future packaging and test whether the right messages are being picked up by consumers."
A voluntary provenance code of practice was introduced 18 months ago by the food industry as consumers become more interested where their food comes from and want to buy British.
New EU rules have this year stipulated country of origin labelling is compulsory for fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry.
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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