SHOPPERS HAVE a huge opportunity to back British dairy farmers over Christmas, with sales of cream in particular expected to spike to an all-year high this month.
With so much cream and cheese featuring in festive diets, the next few weeks present the ideal chance to support products clearly labelled to say they contain British milk.
Fourteen per cent of the total amount of cream sold last year came in the four-week period ending January 4, and likewise, nine per cent of total cheese sales.
Some 37,284 tonnes of cheese was bought in December 2014 - a total outlay of £251m - figures from AHDB Dairy and Kantar Worldpanel show.
The Yorkshire Post’s Clearly British campaign is pressing for action to make it easier for shoppers to identify British dairy products on the shelves - a campaign supported by the National Farmers’ Union.
Christine McDowell, the union’s food chain adviser, said: “Despite huge pressure on the British dairy industry over the past few years, we have seen continued overwhelming support from the general public to back British farming. Christmas is the perfect opportunity for shoppers to support our dairy farmers even further, as consumption levels rocket during the festive period.
“My top tip to ensure you buy British, is to look for the Red Tractor logo on packaging. Most retailers do promote the Red Tractor clearly - however do watch out for labelling without the Red Tractor logo. I would encourage you to read the information on the back of packs to ensure the product has been made suing British milk.”
The Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes is also backing the Clearly British campaign.
Its managing director David Hartley said all the Creamery’s cheese is made with British milk.
“We proudly source milk from over 40 local family farms to ensure the quality and authenticity of our cheese, contributing more than £10m to the local Dales economy.
“Whether it be for a Christmas cheeseboard or the traditional pairing of fruit cake and Yorkshire Wensleydale, we urge shoppers to support British dairy farmers and buy British this busy festive season.”
Our Clearly British campaign calls for food retailers, processors and the wider food industry to take action on clear dairy labels, as weak European Commission laws currently mean shoppers can pick up a dairy product such as cheese, yoghurt, cream or butter and mistakenly think it is made using British milk.
Without mandatory country of origin labels, which were rejected for being too costly and burdensome for regulators by the Commission earlier this year, the Union flag can be used on dairy products if it they are merely processed in Britain.
The pressure to act comes at a crucial time for dairy farmers who are facing the worst cash crisis for a generation caused by a global oversupply of milk.
As a result, the average UK farm gate milk price was 24.23 pence per litre (ppl) in October, well short of the 30ppl farmers cite as covering their production costs - an average price point not enjoyed since September 2014.
To join our call for action, sign our petition here.