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UK retailers using fake farm branding to boost sales

Staff Writer |
The NFU has made a formal complaint to National Trading Standards over the use of fake farm branding on food products used by some of the UK’s major retailers.

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The complaint comes after a Yougov survey commissioned by the NFU suggested that the use of such branding, which was recently adopted by Tesco for its fresh produce and meats, could be confusing shoppers.

Respondents to the survey suggested that the British sounding names of farms used on the packaging gave the impression that the produce comes from this country.

In March, when Tesco launched its new branding using fictional farm names for whole sections of produce, which is also a policy of German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl, the supermarket giant said some of the farm names chosen have “historically been operating farms and have been selected in partnership with our suppliers.”

Around 20 percent of almost 2,000 quizzed in the Yougov poll were uncertain whether the farm-name branding used by the retailers represented real farms.

Commenting on Friday, NFU President Meurig Raymond said, “The NFU’s legal team has looked at this carefully and as a result we are asking Trading Standards Institute to look at whether ‘fake’ farm branding complies with the relevant legal requirements.

“I have spoken to senior management at Tesco to highlight our members’ concerns about the use of these fake farm brands. I urge all retailers to consider seriously the results of our survey which show that mixing imported product with British product under the same fictional farm name can be misleading to many of their customers.

“I am pleased that Aldi has now made a commitment to only source British product in their fictional farm brands by the end of March 2017.”

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