Nobody dislikes stories of the public being hoodwinked more than me. The latest scandal to hit the press involving horse meat being widely supplied to a number of British supermarkets and even to schools is enough to turn even the strongest stomach.
Every day we seem to be faced with another tale of revolting, rehashed animal product reaching our shores from abroad, coming soon to some cheap ready-meal near you.
It all comes down to standards. And when standards reach an unacceptable all-time low in the name of maximising profits, Joe and Joanna Public get very hot under the collar.
So today I’m asking British farmers to take to the streets of social media to broadcast their message, telling us why we should commit in future to buying British and only British.
This is not about patriotism … It’s about common sense. And this is why:
• Buying our own produce supports and secures jobs.
• It decreases the carbon footprint so it’s good for the environment.
• The welfare of the animals (and farm workers) in question can be more easily monitored.
If I were advising anyone connected with the British farming industry on their social media strategy in the coming days and months this is what I’d be saying:
Tell the public what they want to hear! Tell them via social media that buying British means one thing and one thing only
• Persuade them to only buy from shops and supermarkets that guarantee British produce. Nothing panics corporates more than the thought of a boycott.
• Publicly declare that the time for shoddy products at ridiculously prices is over … Fair prices paid to farmers will ensure continuing high standards.
• Connect with food bloggers – start circulating recipes that utilise lower-priced British produce to maximum effect (I cook brisket in wine or beer for 24 hours my slow cooker and it is to die for …)
• Engage online with British independent food retailers and ask for their support by sharing your information- use Twitter’s search facility to do this. Multiply your message and you amplify it!
Some months ago I picked up a packet of cooked chicken in a leading supermarket that was labelled “produce of Thailand”. It was £1.99. I wonder what sort of conditions the animal lived in. I wonder how much the farmer was paid for it. I wonder how much it cost to transport it to the UK. And yet still they were making a profit?
As a consumer I want to be assured that it will all be fine … Buying British is a way to make it fine.
Now is the time to galvanise public support. As a nation we love to rally round a worthy cause.
Gather ye hashtags … Farming needs to get social!