Millions of Britons wrongly believe a Union flag on food means it is made with 100% UK ingredients

British shoppers were shocked to discover that food bearing the Union Jack is not necessarily made from 100 per cent British ingredients.

A survey of 2,000 Britons suggests millions are unaware that manufacturers are allowed to display the flag on packaging, provided the product is made in the UK, even if the ingredients come from overseas.

For example, butter and cheese could appear on supermarket shelves with the Union Jack, even though the raw milk for the product came from the EU.

Almost two-thirds of shoppers feel misled by supermarkets after learning that UK-flagged products may also contain ingredients from countries outside the UK, the survey found.

The survey found that 30 per cent of customers believed the Union Jack meant the product was made with UK-sourced ingredients and almost 40 per cent believed it meant they were supporting British farmers.

While others believed that it meant that the product was locally sourced and of better quality.

The revelation left people feeling misinformed, 42 percent, annoyed, 28 percent, and shocked, 21 percent.

Millions of UK shoppers were shocked to discover that Union Jack foods are not necessarily made from 100 per cent British ingredients (stock image)

Eggs were the top ingredients the British would expect not to be imported because they are so readily available here, followed by potatoes and milk.

Although British Lion egg processors previously complained about the number of imported eggs being used in ready-made foods such as quiche, egg sandwiches and salads – all of which could use the Union Jack.

The survey, commissioned by British Lion eggs, also found that of the 66 per cent who prefer British or imported goods, two-thirds prefer British ingredients.

Half believe that the British are best because there will be fewer food miles, while 45 percent believe that the carbon footprint will be reduced.

But 68 percent do not think that it is clear enough on foods where the ingredients are sourced from, and 43 percent are not sure where food in supermarkets comes from.

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The survey also found that customers feel that packaging is not clear enough to show where food products are made, where the ingredients come from and nutritional information.

Imported eggs can be used in prepared foods such as quiche, egg sandwiches and salads – all of which could use the Union Jack

A separate survey in 2021 by England Marketing found that most people estimated that 73 per cent of their meat, fish and dairy products and 62 per cent of fruit and vegetables they bought were produced in the UK.

But the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ statistics showed that only 55 per cent of purchases were UK-produced.

The study concluded that consumers became less trusting of the Union Jack symbol on packaging.

It said: “Consumers are wary of the Union Jack symbol on packaging because they are concerned that it has only been packed in the UK, so stricter measures and clearer messaging need to be implemented as a reassurance.”

Andrew Joret, chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, said: ‘It is clear from the research that the British public is confused about what the Union Jack symbol on food means.

“Unfortunately, it can be misleading to learn that not all products with the flag contain 100 percent British ingredients.

‘People are likely to buy these items to support the local economy, and farmers too, as they believe they are generating fewer food kilometres.

“The research shows that more needs to be done to educate customers about what food labels mean and to encourage food brands to use all British ingredients when so many of them are readily available here.”

Half of those surveyed, via OnePoll, would be willing to pay an average of 19 per cent more for food made with British ingredients than those without.

And 43 per cent claimed UK farmers lose potential business if ingredients such as eggs, dairy and meat are imported from other countries.


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