NFU sugar board chairman said consumers need to have an option to buy British sugar
Consumers need to be given a choice whether they want to support British farmers or buy imported cane sugar, according to NFU sugar board chairman Michael Sly.
Tesco recently came under fire on Twitter after shoppers asked why they could not find UK-grown Silver Spoon sugar in stores.
Tesco responded by tweeting: “We have decided to change our supplier from Silver Spoon to Tate and Lyle, but we still have Half Spoon and sweeteners available.”
Mr Sly said it was ‘disappointing’ for growers.
He said: “It is like consumers are being denied the choice. The consumer cannot go into store and choose between cane sugar and beet sugar which has been grown here in Britain.”
A Tesco spokesman said: “Our aim is to always provide the best possible quality and prices to our customers.
“We continue to scrutinise any proposed cost increases from our suppliers to avoid any unjustified or unnecessary increases in price.”
The retailer added it would continue to stock a combination of Tate and Lyle and Silver Spoon products.
Co-op also came under fire on Facebook, after saying it did not stock British sugar because there was ‘no such thing’, as sugar cane could not be grown in this country.
The response was later retracted and Co-op said it did not stock it because it had pledged to ‘support the poorest communities in the developing world’ with Fairtrade products.
Mr Sly said it was down to farmers to make sure the public were informed.
He said: “We need to remind people what the British farmer produces. I think there is great support from the British public for home-grown food.”
He said farmers also needed to make people aware of the benefits to the environment and biodiversity of growing sugar beet in the UK.