Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, who is renowned for his British cuisine, has launched a Truly British and Truly Local food campaign with the world’s largest caterer, Compass Group.

Truly British status will be awarded to products with guaranteed British provenance and that can be fully traced back to the source.

Truly Local goes to products made from local ingredients and produced by small, local companies within a 50-mile radius of the Compass site where they’re served

Mr Rhodes said: ‘For too long, there have been misleading claims in the marketplace around British and local sourcing. Companies claim they source locally when, in fact, they source from a local wholesaler and there are no guarantees that the products are genuinely British or local.

‘Britain has a wonderful variety of produce, much of which has strong regional characteristics. Through Compass’s Truly Local criteria, more people the opportunity to experience truly local, quality products.’

Bath Ales filled bottles

Products that have already earned Truly British status include Bath Ales, an independent micro-brewery that uses the best English hops and its own cultured yeast, and that brews and bottles each batch on site.

Ensors cattle

Another Truly British company is beef-producers Ensors, a family business in the Forest of Dean. Ensors’ beef comes from its own farm of Hereford cattle and from farms within a 50-mile radius, rearing traditional English breeds such as Hereford, Angus and Devon.

Truly Local producers include Secretts Direct vegetables, which Gregg Wallace and Vernon Mascarenhas founded in 2001 after realising there was a lack of seasonal British produce available in London.

Secretts farm vegetables

New Forest Ice Cream has also been recognised as Truly Local. Director Christina Veal said: ‘We use milk and cream from the local area to make our ice cream, and, as a family business, it’s important to us to support the local economy and community.’

New Forest Ice Cream

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of leading food and grocery association IGD, added: ‘The number of people looking for locally produced food has almost doubled in the past three years to 27%, compared to 25% in 2006.

‘In these tough economic conditions, many people are keener than ever to support local jobs and communities through their spending choices.’

Suppliers who think they meet the Truly Local criteria are encouraged to register their interest at www.betrulylocal.co.uk

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