Morrisons has taken a swipe at its grocery rivals by pledging not to sell ‘fake farm’ own-label brands.
The Bradford-based grocer has pledged to support British farmers following a backlash from the National Farmers Union and apparent concerns from shoppers.
According to a survey conducted by Morrisons, 70% of UK adults said they objected to the use of fake farm brands and only wanted real place or farm names to be used on packaging and branding.
Tesco came under fire after Retail Week revealed it was launching seven entry-level Farms brands across the fruit, vegetables, meat and poultry categories, to better compete with discount duo Aldi and Lidl.
The NFU formally complained to National Trading Standards about the move last July.
Morrisons dropped its own similar private label brand, Hemsley’s – a play on the Yorkshire town of Helmsley – more than a year ago.
The grocer said such labels “can give an impression that food comes from a British farm, market or town when it may in fact be imported from overseas.”
Morrisons is instead hosting hundreds of real farmers in its stores, with livestock farmers at the butchers, growers in the fruit and veg aisles and dairy farmers at the deli this week.
The supermarket giant said the ‘Meet the Real Farmer’ events, which take place today, will give farmers the opportunity to explain the benefits of home-grown food to shoppers and boost the retailer’s provenance credentials.
Last month Morrisons pledged to only sell meat from British farms, while it also aims to recruit at least 200 new suppliers from across England, Scotland and Wales.
Morrisons head of British livestock Joe Mannion said: “Real farmers have an important role to play in explaining to customers how important real British food is, and how customers can tell whether food is from the UK or not.
“Supermarket customers are sometimes presented with misleading images of farmers on their food and we believe that by meeting our real farmers, customers will see and value that we know where our food comes from.”