Supermarkets were warned today that they needed to source more food from local suppliers or risk losing their customers.
Independent consumer research commissioned by Farmers Weekly magazine and carried out by NOP showed that 59 per cent of consumers would consider shopping elsewhere if their local supermarket was not committed to sourcing local food.
The research was published at the Royal Show, which is being held at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.
More than eight out of ten people (85 per cent) questioned for the survey said they wanted their usual supermarket to do more about sourcing food from local suppliers.
The key findings of the survey were:
* 59 per cent of people would consider shopping elsewhere for their food if their usual supermarket was not committed to sourcing produce from local suppliers
* 70 per cent feel supermarkets are not doing enough to source from local suppliers
* 85 per cent would like to see their usual supermarket more committed to sourcing produce from local suppliers
* If supermarkets were to increase the foods they stock from local producers, 56 per cent said local fruit and vegetables were most important, while the next preference - 22 per cent - was for local meat
* 82 per cent of consumers would be more likely to buy locally-produced food if it was clearly labelled in the supermarket
* 39 per cent expressed a preference for buying local food in their supermarket as opposed to other outlets.
Campaign director Julian Gairdner said the findings had boosted Farmers Weekly's Local Food is Miles Better campaign which is encouraging supermarkets to stock and clearly label more locally-produced food.
The campaign is being run because of claims that transporting large quantities of food from all corners of the world is bad for the environment, bad for freshness, bad for food security and bad for traceability. More than 3,000 people have registered their support for the campaign in seven weeks, including Conservative leader David Cameron MP.
Mr Cameron is due to give the campaign his public backing today during his visit to the show.
Farmers Weekly has written to supermarkets this week urging them do more to stock, promote and label locally produced food in a way that supports local producers and cuts down the distance food is transported.
"Supermarkets have led the way with innovation in retailing and some have made positive steps towards the idea of supporting local food," Mr Gairdner said.
"But we firmly believe there's now a real opportunity for them to look to innovate their offering on the basis of sustainable low-food-miles produce and reward consumers for their loyalty to the concept in a way that benefits the environment and British producers.
For the first time in the Royal Show's 167-year history it is ensuring all its catering outlets offer visitors regionally-produced food and drink in the food pavilion.
Steve Collins, the show's catering manager, said: "Buying British is high on food consumers' agenda. People are becoming increasingly interested in how and where the food they eat is produced." ..SUPL: