Friends of the Earth Media  Release
00.01hrs Monday 18th November 2002

PUBLIC BACKS FARMERS AGAINST SUPERMARKETS

A new opinion poll commissioned by Friends of the Earth reveals that  most of  the British public think supermarkets are giving farmers a raw deal.  Almost  two thirds think farmers are not paid enough by supermarkets for the  food  they produce. And more than four fifths want the supermarkets to give  preference to UK products over imported products when in season.

NOP Omnibus, between the 8th and 10th November carried out the poll. The  questions were asked on the Telebus survey to 999 respondents from  around  the GB. This survey is designed to be nationally representative of the  telephone owning population aged 15+.

1. Do you think that at present supermarkets pay farmers enough for the  food  they purchase from them, or not?
 Yes:   16%
 No:   63%
 Don't know:  22%
2. Do you think supermarkets should sell UK grown products in preference  to  imported products when in season, or not?
 Yes:    84%
 No:    13%
 Don't know:     3%

Next week (Monday 25th November), Friends of the Earth will publish a  major  survey of apples sold in UK supermarkets, greengrocers and markets
(contact FOE Media Unit for further information on this survey). The results are  expected to show that the supermarkets have the worst record of the  three in  stocking UK produced apples. Last month, FOE and the UK Independent  Fruit  Growers Association published a report showing that supermarkets  regularly  rejected UK grown fruit for cosmetic reasons.

Friends of the Earth food campaigner Sandra Bell commented:

"Supermarkets are giving UK farmers and growers a raw deal. They claim  this  is a response to consumer demand - but it's clear that the public wants  farmers to get a fair price for what they produce. And people also want  preference to be given to UK products in season. Consumers should put  more  pressure on supermarkets by looking to farmers' markets and small  retailers  to supply them with quality home-grown food whenever possible.