Following on from my complaint about anti-English labelling I have now recieved a reply to the complaint I made to Sainsbury’s. I reproduce both my letter and their response in full below.
I noticed as part of your “Buy British” campaign many products labelled with the flag of the United Kingdom, the Union Jack.
I noticed also a number of products labelled with the national flag of Scotland. The specific examples I quote were on strawberries.
Further investigation showed that Scottish produce carried either the UK or Scottish flags, and the origin was listed by the county and then Scotland. E.g. Angus, Scotland or Perthshire, Scotland.
I also noticed that some of your organic strawberries were labelled from Herefordshire, UK rather than the equivalent Herefordshire, England.
Why is your national origin labelling inconsistent?
As an Englishman I feel my country is being deliberately ignored. A Scottish producer may equally feel by being labelled as Scottish produce they are missing out on your “Buy British” promotion. Visitors to these shores maybe confused by this inconsistent use of our already complicated national terminology.
Though I would prefer you to label by English, Northern Irish, Scottish or Welsh origin, I believe the most important thing is that you are consistent.
I look forward to your reply,
The reply was as follows:
Thank you for your email. I am sorry to learn that you find our national origin labeling inconsistent. I appreciate your disappointment, especially as you feel that English products are being overlooked in our Buy British campaign.
Our policy is to label products as British where appropriate. However, we recognize that there is a strong demand for locally produced food in Nothern Ireland and Scotland. We also offer a number of regional lines in the West Country and Cornwall, which we advertise in our stores with shelf labels and posters.
Throughout the UK, we continue to promote the regional source of selected items. These include Cornish potatoes, Welsh lamb, Suffolk pork, South West Country chicken, West Country lamb, West Country veal, Aberdeen Angus beef and Somerset Brie. We also sell locally produced sausages from Kent, Cornwall, and Cambridge in some of our stores. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, we sell meat reared in those countries and label it as such.
I can assure you that we are constantly reviewing our labeling processes and are grateful for your comments. Our marketing team will certainly take them on board to make sure our national terminology is consistent.
Thank you again for taking the time to write with your observations. It is very useful for us to hear where you feel we can make improvements, as this will help us to make things better for all our customers. I also hope that you will continue to shop with us.
Well apart from slightly misunderstanding a few of my points, this letter seems to concentrating more on the marketing side. The detailed origin labelling was equally bad. It seems basically to be saying that Sainsbury’s responds to consumer demand. The answer of course is to demand fair labelling of English produce. Expect more from me on this in the near future…