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Supermarket shoppers’ views on buying British produce sought for student research

Posted 26 May

“Supermarkets play a huge role in controlling what we buy and what we eat, but they also have the power to encourage more sustainable shopping habits. I hope my results will allow me to determine recommendations for what can be done in supermarkets to encourage buying British food.”

A young woman – Lucy Baker – in striped top and gilet stands in front of a brick wall.

The views of British supermarket shoppers – and the importance they place upon where their food comes from – are being investigated by a Harper Adams University student.

Lucy Baker, a final year BSc (Hons) Business Management with Marketing student, is running a survey asking customers what shapes their weekly shop – and she hopes to develop recommendations to help retailers back British produce from their replies.

She said: “There are countless benefits to buying British food; from supporting our economy and the millions of jobs it creates, to reducing food miles, and supporting our incredibly high food and welfare standards.

“It's important that we adopt more sustainable behaviour, and this is just one great way of doing that.”

Lucy, 22, was brought up in rural Herefordshire and has seen various family members work within agricultural industries. However, she believes that while many in rural communities are keenly aware of where their food comes from, this may not be the case for every shopper.

“It might seem like second nature to check where your food comes from if you've grown up in a farming background but this simply is not the case for a lot of people.

“If it is something you have never considered or been exposed to then you can't be expected to make an informed decision.

“Supermarkets play a huge role in controlling what we buy and what we eat, but they also have the power to encourage more sustainable shopping habits.

“I hope my results will allow me to determine recommendations for what can be done in supermarkets to encourage buying British food.”

Respondents will complete a short, five-page survey about their current shopping habits, views on British produce, and more – with Lucy hoping the results will show what importance shoppers place on British food and whether their views are currently understood by retailers.

The survey can be found here.

Lucy will be taking up a graduate role at Leominster-based agricultural public relations agency Pinstone Communications this summer – and is looking to put her four years’ study at Harper Adams into practice – after her initial visit to an Open Day found both Lucy and her parents feeling far more at home with the Harper Adams campus than those of city-based universities they had visited.

She added: “The lecturers were passionate about their subject, the student ambassadors couldn't rave enough about their experiences, and the campus radiated the ‘Harper spirit’ – my dad said saying he wished he was the one going here!

“Plenty of universities offer a business management with marketing course, but the placement opportunities, smaller class sizes and the rural affiliation, to name a few, is totally unique to Harper.  

“I have never looked back on my decision to come here, have had the best four years and made friends for life. I just wish I could do it all again.”

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