One in five less likely to buy Brexit branded produce in fresh blow for farmers

Almost one in five (18%) have said they are less likely to buy products labelled “Not for EU” which will be a requirement on all British meat and dairy produce from October 2024.

The poll of 1,027 people undertaken by Survation on behalf of Best for Britain suggests that hard-pressed British farmers and retailers could face new and unforced financial strain from a lack of consumer confidence caused by the Government’s Brexit deal.

The poll also revealed that only three in ten (28%) understand where ‘Not for EU’ products are manufactured, suggesting confusion among consumers, something that could increase as new and one-sided trade deals with countries like Australia and New Zealand come into effect. These deals will eventually allow for limitless imports of meat to the UK from countries with lower animal welfare and food standards.

Despite these requirements being an outworking of the Government’s Brexit deal, just under half (45%) of respondents think the UK Government is responsible for the new labels, and their negative impact on consumer confidence.

A separate study by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) found that ‘Not for EU’ labelling will pose a significant risk to UK exporters.

The data has been published as the Prime Minister seeks to claw back support among rural communities following significant by-election defeats and worrying polling for the Conservatives in traditional Tory heartlands. 

Speaking at the National Farmers Union conference, the Prime Minister underlined his commitment to clear labelling despite these challenges which he helped create. When grilled on the challenges created for farmers by the threat of regulatory divergence and the lack of a SPS agreement with our largest market, the Prime Minister, speaking three years after Brexit took effect, said, “I’ll be totally honest, it’s work in progress”. 

Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for Britain said,

“Almost every agricultural challenge has been made more difficult by Brexit and this government has continued to hammer farmers and food suppliers with terrible new trade deals which undercut British standards.

“The next government must commit to a Youth Mobility Scheme to tackle labour shortages, an independent board of trade to protect farmers from fire-sale trade deals, and beneficial regulatory alignment with our largest market to slash red tape.”

The full polling data is available here.