In response to growing consumer demand for local food, retailers have adopted buying policies aimed at increasing the availability of regional and local food on their shelves. I welcome that, and recognise the need to provide consumers with information on the provenance of the food that they buy. Clearer origin labelling is therefore a key commitment in the Government’s programme.
I thank the Minister for her answer, but if small food producers are to be able to grow and supply the big supermarkets they must be able to develop their business, and one factor that holds them back is regulation and bureaucracy. What steps is the Department taking to strip out regulation in order to make it easier for such producers to grow?
I know that my hon. Friend has long experience of working in the food retail industry and has a keen understanding of this issue, and therefore I would encourage him to participate in the work of the regulation taskforce, and to make his submissions to its chairman in a timely fashion so that, as far as possible, the burden of regulation can be alleviated without undermining the original intention for which it was created.