Brexit drives UK consumers to buy British but only if the price is right

The responses show that people’s main motivation for buying domestic is to support the UK economy

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The Independent Online

Buying British is becoming more popular with consumers as Brexit looms, but only if the price is right.

According to a survey of more than 2,000 adults conducted by YouGov, one in five consumers is more likely to buy British foods after the Brexit vote because they want to support the domestic economy, and one in seven is more likely to buy any good if its British, but if prices rise many will look for cheaper foreign alternatives.

The responses show that people’s main motivation for buying domestic is to support the UK economy.

Nearly three quarters of people surveyed claim that they would buy British as a means of supporting local farmers, and seven in ten said that they would do so to help UK  businesses.

Much of the allegiance to buying British comes from older consumers with more than 80 per cent of people aged 55 or over preferring to buy local.  This compares to 57 per cent for 25 to 34 year-olds.

But the trend might not last.

For a large number, cost wins out over origin when it comes to splashing out.

The study found that if the cost of British food increased by 10 per cent, three in ten people would choose foreign produce instead.

According to the latest BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index released in April, food prices in the UK prices increased at their fastest pace for more than three years in March.

Official data recently revealing that wider consumer prices index (CPI) inflation jumped to 2.3 per cent in March.

Kate Fillery of YouGov  said there has been much discussion about boosting the economy of the UK  since last year’s referendum.

“The research show this message is hitting home with a large number of customers. However, with inflation increasing and household finances coming under pressure, for all the desire to buy British, many are willing to turn their back on domestically-produced food and products if prices rise,” Ms Fillery said.

Earlier this year a report from Morrisons based on research led by Professor Tim Benton from the University of Leeds, showed that only 52 per cent of the food eaten in Britain comes from local sources. Just 23 per cent of the fruit and vegetable eaten in Britain is grown here.