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Home-Produced Foods

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 22 March 1951

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asked the Minister of Food if he will give approximate estimates, in terms of weight and value, of the proportion of food consumed in the United Kingdom which is grown at home.

The value of United Kingdom gross agricultural output of foodstuffs in the year June, 1949-May, 1950, was £882 million, and the value of imports of food, feedingstuffs and drink in the year ended June, 1950 at c.i.f. prices was £1,077 million.No satisfactory method has, however, been found of making a direct comparison between these figures. For example, imported and home produced foods are not all valued at the same stage of manufacture or processing. Thus the import figures include the import price of butter, cheese and milk products, whereas the home agricultural output includes only the value of the milk contained in the corresponding home products.Again, the value of imported oilseeds would have to be apportioned between oils and fats for human consumption, oils and fats for industrial purposes, and oil-cake for animal feed which forms part of the costs of home produced meat and milk. For such reasons as these little reliance could be placed on any direct comparison between the value of imports and home production because of the large number of arbitrary assumptions that would be involved.It would be even more misleading to make a comparison on the basis of total weight, which would entail, for example, the comparison of tons of tea with tons of potatoes. The following table, however, shows for the main foods which are home produced, the proportion by weight derived from home production in 1950:

Percentage (by weight) Home produced
Wheat and flour (as wheat equivalent)29
Oils and fats (crude oil equivalent) (a) (b)13
Sugar (refined value)22
Carcase meat and offal52
Total meat (product weight)48
Bacon and ham (including canned)46
Fish (including canned and shell fish)86
Butter7
Cheese26
Condensed milk84
Dried milk (whole and skimmed)54
Shell eggs76
Milk for human consumption as liquid100
Potatoes for human consumption98
(a) Includes oils and fats for non-food use.
(b) Marine oils produced by British whale fisheries and British landings of fish are counted as home production.