UK farmed produce set to boom by £13.1billion by 2020

Farm Pigs

The study, which examines the attitudes of UK farmers and consumers, warns a gap exists between what many UK farmers are producing in response to consumer aspirations, and what in reality motivates their purchases.

Demographic changes are expected to grow the market for UK farmed produce by £8.4billion by 2020 according to economic analysis.

Furthermore, based on the 17 per cent price premium, there could be an additional £4.7billion economic growth prospect in the next five years, with the greatest increase forecast in the dairy sector, followed by poultry and beef.

The research reveals the top factors that would encourage consumers to buy more UK farmed produce5. Price is top of the shopping list as most influential, however only 39 per cent of farmers identify price as an influence on consumer purchasing decisions.

Beyond price, consumer interest in provenance is strong, with better taste or flavour closely following, though only a third of farmers think it would encourage more purchases. In third place for consumers is demonstration of superior quality.

A demand for ethical food is also an important factor; with influences such as animal welfare considerations and confidence in food safety scoring highly, however in contrast just under two in five farmers think demonstration of better animal welfare standards would encourage more sales. Two thirds would buy more UK produce to support farmers.

Mark Suthern, Head of Agriculture at Barclays who commissioned the research commented: “Our research shows that while support for UK produce exists, consumers are very cost conscious and when it comes to what drives choice of produce, it is principally value and convenience. Following the on-going difficulties that UK agriculture has experienced over the last few years, it has never been a more important time to support the growth of a vital sector of the economy.”

The research also found that women demonstrate more conscientious buying behaviour than men. They are more likely to be encouraged by product qualities across a number of attributes such as animal welfare, traceability, and support for UK farmers.

Female shoppers also show a keener interest in a broader range of produce from the UK, and a strong regard for product safety.

Overall, when it comes to the main factors influencing general purchasing decisions, price and convenience are the principle triggers, with just under forty per cent of UK adults saying they shop for value over origin, followed by 31 per cent shopping for convenience over origin.

Mark Suthern continued: “The UK has a global reputation for high-quality, high welfare farmed produce at competitive prices, and the evidence shows that consumers value the access they have to such domestically produced food, but must look beyond just price and convenience to support the industry. These findings will also help UK farmers to realise the opportunities and challenges around production of quality produce in a price conscious market. Perhaps now is the time for the industry to think differently to ensure that UK farming remains competitive for future growth.”