You couldn’t move for Union flags around the time of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, while the St George cross was flying high to support England during the Euros. Now, with London 2012 around the corner, patriotism on packaging seems to have reached fever pitch.

In text speak, BFF means ‘best friends forever’, but when related to food it means British Food Fortnight. However, this year’s Fortnight has changed to coincide with London 2012 and is being called ‘Love British Food 2012’, running from July 27 to August 12.

There is a new logo as well as patriotic promotional material with the messages ‘Be Patriotic!’ and ‘Support the home team!’.

Organiser Alexia Robinson says: “Love British Food 2012 offers a valuable opportunity to link promotions to the Games without infringing LOCOG and IOC regulations, and offer something genuinely of interest to customers. Quite simply, Love British Food 2012 offers the best opportunity for retailers to grab a piece of the Olympic commercial cake.”

She believes there is a part for all retailers to play - large and small. This is demonstrated by the fact that Love British Food 2012 is backed by Tesco as well as by Spar.

The symbol group’s marketing manager Rebecca Whitmore says: “This is a fantastic promotion for us to be involved with, especially during this summer the perfect time to celebrate the best of British.”

Spar is licensed to use ‘Official Partner of Love British Food 2012’ and the logo. The symbol group is sending its retailers special ‘lollipops’, which they can use to highlight local and British produce. It is also encouraging retailers to do product tastings.

According to Atul Sodha, who runs Londis Peverills in Middlesex, tastings are the secret to his success when it comes to British Food Fortnight. “How difficult is it to open a packet of crisps and let your customers try them?” he asks.

“We do this with Tyrrells crisps. We work with suppliers to do tastings in store. We’ve found that if you show an interest in them and give them some publicity they are willing to help.

“I think it’s good, as a small store, to get involved with BFF, to show our customers that we are just as good as the big stores.”

Atul’s support for BFF was honoured by BFF organiser Alexia Robinson recently, when she took him as one of her guests on a trip to see the Queen. The visit was the culmination of the Duchess of Cornwall’s Cook for The Queen competition to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

However, despite all the British campaigns, not all shoppers are interested in where their food comes from. Sarbjit Daley, from Sarbs Convenience Store in Wolverhampton, says: “My shop is all about speed - people want just a quick pick and go. They haven’t time to think about anything else. My customers have never asked for anything British the only thing they have asked about is eggs, to make sure they are free range.”

He adds, though, that he’s had quite a few products with the Union flag on them - Lenor and Bold, for instance, which have both been on promotion. “We’re a Premier store and Premier provided us with a special stand for Bold. I also went out of my way to stock the old-style Fairy bottle because that was very eye-catching.”

Indeed, as a retailer, you really have not had to go to any trouble to get red, white and blue packs. Everything from M&M’s to Pampers nappies are sporting the Union flag. And brands with truly British credentials have really gone to town.

Ginsters is running a ‘Best of British Celebration’, with a range of 10 special-edition sandwiches and pasties - including an all-day breakfast and coronation chicken pasty - as well as a competition with a British-themed prize every day.

The competition is the brand’s biggest on-pack promotion, appearing on more than 20 million packs until September. Flashes on promotional packs of pasties, slices and sandwiches direct consumers to the ‘Best of British’ website, where they can enter the free prize draw every day.

Andy Valentine, head of brand marketing for Ginsters, says: “At Ginsters, we are really proud to be British and, although it’s only a small island, we have a great reputation for our food. We are committed to supporting British farmers. We use only 100% British meat, eggs and cheese in our range and source most of our fresh vegetables from farms within 30 miles of our bakery. Fresh, British ingredients are a vital part of our brand, and help us to deliver the taste and quality that our consumers expect from Ginsters.”

Another furrow

Meanwhile, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is running a ‘What Farming Delivers for Britain’ campaign. President Peter Kendall says the message to consumers is simple: ‘Ask for British food’. He explains: “Britain’s self-sufficiency in food has dropped by 15% in the past 20 years, but I know everyone can do their bit by enjoying a more seasonal diet and eating more British food when it’s at its best. Buying more local food also helps to make a big difference to the communities closest to us.”

TV funny man Simon Day has thrown his support behind the NFU’s campaign, appearing in a film to promote the cause, which can be seen on the website, In addition, there is a consumer competition to win an iPad.

The farm-themed ads continue with Hovis’ second bout for its recently launched British Farmers Loaf. Made from “Britain’s best wheat”, the new loaves are baked in embossed Hovis tins, with a traditional overhang and flour-dusted crust to deliver more bite and flavour. The ads run for four weeks from August and highlight the hard work that goes into making the loaves from 100% British wheat.

But it’s Warburtons that Nielsen data positions as the largest British-owned FMCG brand and branded baker. The company’s marketing controller, Megan Harrison, says it is immensely proud of this. “Being British is also about holding values that resonate with the British consumer. Our values - family, quality, care, responsibility and ambition - guide our decision-making.”

She adds that Warburtons doesn’t just buy flour - it takes great care in choosing to work with farmers who share its passion to produce quality wheat responsibly.

“Warburtons has been working with a network of more than 300 British farmers through its relationship with Openfield, Britain’s leading grain marketing and arable input co-operative. Our relationship with Openfield - which is now in its 13th year - is already worth more than £172m to British farming, and as part of its continued support of the UK farming industry it has committed to increase its level of investment to £312m over the next five years.”

The partnership has also seen the production of more than a million tonnes of wheat from more than 300 UK farmers, which has been used to create flour for Warburtons products. Together, they aim to produce nearly two million tonnes of wheat by 2016, which will contribute towards the two million products produced each day by Warburtons’ 12 bakeries.

Although the Britishness of a product may not be top of mind with all consumers, Harrison says quality and value remain the primary sales drivers. “To help make their purchasing decisions easier, consumers are choosing to become more aware of where their products come from and are interested in the business behind the brand - so how Warburtons and other brands behave is increasingly important. Quality of ingredients (53%) is the most likely reason that consumers would be prepared to pay extra for grocery products (HIM CTP 2011).”

Finally, Wyke Farms, the UK’s largest independent cheese producer and milk processor, has hit the road with its biggest summer sampling tour to date, which is set to reach more than one million consumers. Visiting 37 national consumer events, the Wyke Farms tour trailer will be hard to miss as it has a 2.5 metre inflatable cow flying from its roof. Consumers will be invited into the trailer to taste the award-winning Cheddar in a traditional farmhouse kitchen layout. Products available to nibble include Simply Gorgeous vintage Cheddar, Just Delicious extra mature Cheddar, Superlight half-fat Cheddar and the new ‘Crunchy’ Cheddar. •

Get stuck in

British Food

If you’re thinking of taking part in Love British Food 2012, read on for some helpful tips from the organisers:

● Highlight British produce with patriotic material. Create a display of British food and drink in a prominent place so that customers can see the produce that’s available when they walk in

● Offer tastings of new or existing British products in your shop. In previous years some retailers have seen a 50% increase in sales of products offered for tastings

● Make sure your staff are knowledgeable about the food and drink you sell

● Expand the range of regional food that you stock. British Food Fortnight is a good time to launch new products as 84% of new food and drink lines stocked for British Food Fortnight promotions are retained afterwards

● Rather than just use the term ‘local’, name the producers and farms. If you are unable to specify producers or farms by name then use generic phrases such as ‘All meat sold comes from within 30 miles of this shop’

● Start small but think big! A greengrocer in West Yorkshire delivered fruit and veg to schools and gave pupils talks during British Food Fortnight. He has since won a three-year contract to supply fruit and veg to 30 schools in the area.

For more information, go to

Loud and proud

Duerr’s has revamped its website to make its British links hard to miss. The website features a ‘Proud

to be British theme’, flagging up recipes and highlighting the company’s heritage. In addition, packs feature a QR code which, when scanned, downloads a patriotic moment in Britain’s history.

tel: 0161 946 0535

Just desserts

Three classic British puddings - Eton mess, apple pie and cherry bakewell - are available in yogurt form thanks to Müller. The flavours appear in a Müller Corner limited-edition pack of six, while Eton mess and apple pie are also available as single 135g pots.

rrp: 64p £3.59

tel: 01630 692000

Scotch corner

Browns Food Group is relaunching its Tarbert Fine Cooked Meat range of premium Scottish cooked meats, using specially selected pork and Scotch beef. The range includes thick cut Ayrshire ham, Arran mustard ham and chicken & haggis.

rrp: £2.49

tel: 0845 3306434

Bowled over

McCain Foods is hoping to get consumers to celebrate the great British summer with its Wedges, via an on-pack offer for a specially designed sharing bowl. Consumers have to collect two vouchers from special packs and apply online from August 6 to claim their bowl.

rrp: £1.85

tel: 0800 146 573

Farm fresh

Limited-edition packs of Country Life butter are currently sporting a bright Union Jack design to

make the brand’s British credentials stand out. Owner Dairy Crest says that Country Life is the only major butter brand made exclusively with milk from British dairy farmers.

tel: 01372 472200