Want to buy British? Here’s how to make your purchases more patriotic

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Patriotism is the order of the day and if you're looking for a way to express it, how about making a commitment to buy British goods and produce more often? It might even save you money. Here's how to get started…

Made in BritainEarlier this year, the Made in Britain Campaign, a not-for-profit company supporting British manufacturing, launched a new 'made in Britain' logo (pictured) to help consumers identify British-made goods.

The new logo was designed after research showed that consumers want to buy British, but are confused about which brands are still actually made here. According to the campaigners, it has met with massive support from manufacturers and the public alike, while high street retailers report a definite consumer demand for items that are made in Britain.

However, whilst people are keen to buy British where possible, it's not always easy to work out where and how to do it.

St George's Day

Leading by example: a truly British family

One family, however, have become experts. James and Emily Bradshaw, along with their young son Lucan, set themselves the challenge of surviving only on British made goods for a year.

From January 2013, they scoured the country (and the internet) for food and drink, clothing and consumables and all manner of things made in Britain, becoming a leading consumer voice supporting British manufacturing and farming in the process.

What about the cost?

The challenge was, well, challenging in many ways and involved countless hours spent trawling the internet and intently reading labels in shops - lightbulbs, nappies and printing ink proved particularly difficult to source - but the Bradshaws uncovered a wealth of producers and manufacturers and found the whole experience rewarding and fun. The question is, did it prove more expensive?

"I would say that overall, it averaged out as a pretty normal yearly spend," reflects James. "We saved 20% on our food bills, partly by going for a local fruit and veg scheme and also by not going to supermarkets very often - this meant we weren't drawn into the various offers that they have and buying extra non-essential luxuries.

"On the flip side, things like clothes and shoes were at times significantly more expensive and buying toys for Lucan was almost impossible."

Have things returned to normal?

Now that their challenge is over and things have settled down again, the Bradshaws are buying around 80% of British made goods and produce. So what did they learn from last year's experiences?

"That British industry needs consumer support!" answers James. "Our experience is that the more people shout for something, the more that buyers in the big stores will get the message and start stocking and promoting British made goods."

Why food is a good place to start

His advice to people who would like to support homegrown manufacturers and producers is to start with food, where the labeling is more clear and standardised, and there is a relatively wide range of products. As this is also where you may be able to save money, it's an ideal way to dip your toe in the water.

Other than that, start reading labels carefully! The new Made in Britain logo will help, particularly as more companies continue to sign up.