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    Wednesday, 15 March 2017

    “Buy British” Introduced for Online Shoppers

    img Marcin Floryan
    The UK Environment minister George Eustice has been in conversation with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) discussing the introduction of new labelling methods for food sold online reports the Daily Express. The labelling involves a button that will highlight British foods for online shoppers. The idea of a British button first arose during a Westminster Hall debate on 7 March.

    The future of food labelling was brought up: “I would like to raise the subject of labelling on online shopping, because often if one wants to shop online one doesn’t know whether it’s British food or not,” said Conservative MP Rebecca Pow, “Would there be a way that we could consider having a button to press when you do your online shop so that you can just choose from British produce? Surely that’s really going to help us as we leave the EU?”

    Towards the end of the debate, Eustice disclosed that the “Buy British” button is something that he and NFU were discussing as a method to “avoid voluntary principles.”

    In our increasingly digital age, online shopping is the norm, and that’s including the weekly grocery shop. As it stands, 29% of UK online grocery shoppers are shopping for their groceries more online nowthan a year ago. The difference between doing your shop from the handles of a shopping trolley versus a keyboard and mouse is that your senses are rendered completely useless in the online realm. Online grocery retailers present a stock image of produce; shoppers are unable to inspect separate produce much less determine the country of origination if it is not made evident in the product description. The British button will provide online shoppers with relevant information about produce. If the “Buy British” button scheme were to come about, online grocery retailers would add a special filter to their websites to show UK-grown food only.

    Is it Wise?
    With Brexit looming ever closer on the horizon, the question that must be asked is whether the introduction of such a button will ensure the prosperity of the British market. MPs are firmly behind the idea and are urging the Government to launch the scheme. Loyal nationals will welcome the addition of what is essentially a British filter for food products. The button will allow people to refine the massive online market and keep revenue within the UK.

    In this turbulent time, it’s important for shoppers to support UK farmers. Meurig Raymond, NFU President, said, “From the independent surveys that the NFU has carried out over the years, we know that 86pc of shoppers want to buy more British food, so we would welcome any move which would enable them to back British farming.”

    The British Button could prove beneficial to the UK economy to the detriment of the rest of the EU. For the Irish beef sector specifically, the button spells disaster. According to Agriland, 50% of Irish beef is sold within the UK with 45% going to the EU. The remainder goes to countries without the EU. Chief Economist Rowena Dwyer said that the surplus of Irish beef could negatively affect the EU market which “will not be able to cope … if Irish exports to the UK are displaced.” Dwyer spoke at the launch of the IFA’s policy paper on Brexit.



    Jacqui Litvan

    Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).


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