One family, two supermarkets, three bottles of wine

Proof of our truly British shop (The French Fancies are Baked in the UK by a British company, we promise.)

Even with the phenomenal offerings from Kent Veg Box this week the need arose for us to go to the supermarket (and eventually 2 supermarkets in order to get all that we needed). It is normally something that I do on my own and wiz round as fast as possible, getting all the things that we always need. However as we are now an all British family the shopping inevitably takes quite a bit longer. Also as we are still at the beginning of the project James is very interested in seeing how easy the weekly shop is, or not as the case may be.

Our destination at 8am this morning was Tesco, Riverhead. This branch of Tesco is a very large one so I thought that I would naturally find everything we needed, and probably more. We started on a real high as I discovered that Rimel make up is manufactured in England and is proud to state this clearly on the packaging. One mascara and nail vanish later we were ready to move on. Next was soap and on to Pears, which is a particular favorite for James (he loves the smell). Alas here we were not so lucky, as something that you might associate with a British bygone era is actually manufactured in India.

As we made our way into food we came first to the butter where I immediately grabbed what I normally do (out of habit, I must admit), the Tesco everyday value Salted Butter. Interestingly the salted butter stated that it was produced in England and Ireland while the Unsalted was produced in just England. This seemed a little strange! We bought another brand in the end which did not have this same confusion, even if it was 40p more expensive.

Cheese was much easier and thankfully Tesco have a simple and relatively clear policy of putting the flag of the country of origin on the front of the cheese packaging. This led me away from the Parmasan and towards a hard goats cheese and a Somerset Brie, both of which look delicious. I will try to remember to let you know how they fair in a later blog.

The next triumph was oil.  A delicious looking bottle of cold pressed Hill Farm rapeseed oil (who we know about through Twitter). There was even a choice of different UK produced oils and so I have had my faith restored that this year is certainly not going to be boring in culinary terms. We did however have a disappointment in the very next shelf with vinegars. The Aspall vinegars were what we had hoped would carry us through but sadly they are not produced in the UK, or rather are very ambiguous as to where the vinegar is produced. As such we had to move on with a trolley empty of vinegar.

A general problem we came across in Tesco was a label on the packaging saying ‘Packed in the UK’. We debated this one quickly and decided that it did not score very highly at all on our Britishness scale at all. Packed in Britain seemed to us to be a bit of a rubbish non-statement about the good provenance.

Last but not least we made it to the wine. Knowing little about English wine I thought that there might be a small section dedicated to this recent but brilliant trend. We were very disappointed to find only one English wine in a whole aisle of wines from every other continent. There was nothing in either the red or the sparkling sections, despite the fact that there are super wines made within 40 miles of the store. Needless to say I was not impressed, and even less so that I now had to make a separate trek to Waitrose to buy the elusive English wine.

The wine was finally found in Waitrose although there was still a disappointing show.  That said, we now had a yummy white in the form of Chapel Downs ‘Baccus’ and hopefully an equally good fizz and red for tomorrow to toast our first proper dive into the UK media (More information tomorrows blog).

It must be said that dragging a 2 year old around 2 supermarkets in one day in order to ensure that our weekly shop was entirely British was no fun at all.








  1. Hello! Noticed in the mail that you’re looking for British made baby items? We manufacture baby nappies, bandana bibs, tag toys etc in our home in England. Please have a look at if you’d likd to see what we do. And good luck with living British.

  2. Hello. Really impressed that you are buying British. I wish you well and hope it inspires more to do the same. However, would you be able to use the English spelling of words, rather than American, please? Have noticed two Americanisms: flavor, in place of flavour, and favorite, in place of favourite. Regards.

    PS Presume you are aware of Kinky Knickers, British made knickers made in the North of England from lace made in Nottingham. There were two really moving programmes on TV with Mary Portas last year.

  3. Ray Tuckwell says

    Keep up the good work ,if everybody did the same thing this country would not be in such mess . I am also going to take more care in what I purchase from now on .

  4. Nicola Karn says

    Dom Joly did this in a show called Made In Britain. If I remember correctly he found almost everything apart from a new TV. It’s appearing again on some channel might be worth scooting around. Although that may also be an issue to keep your ‘British’ living. You may find Christmas and Birthdays a great chance to go to local craft / pamper / country events. I bet you’ll love doing the shopping then! Keep up the good work.

  5. I always drink English sparkling wine on principle. Some of it is seriously good, especially the pink.

    I am a coeliac, which surprisingly makes it easier, as most gluten-free products are made in the UK. The one problem is gluten-free pasta.

  6. Inspired by the stance you are taking, and will be attempting to follow your example. I hope that if enough of us join you, it may influence start-up rates for new British businesses, and strengthen existing companies producing British goods. Wouldn’t it be lovely to walk into a shop and see foreign goods gathering dust amongst the cobwebs? And to hear in the news of high employment among school leavers and recent graduates? That would be worth a bit of financial pain to me.

  7. Hi

    You will probably find that taking a ‘green’ or ‘eco’ approach to your searches will result in many British products. Many eco companies try and cut ‘food’ miles or try and produce locally.

    For instance I got a sturdy pair of boots from a Sheffield company (Guat Shoes) that makes hand made footwear:

    They get their leather from UK sources. My (very comfortable) boots cost about £90 about 4 years ago and are still going strong. The cost of putting new soles on will probably be about £30. So overall Ihave the equvalent of two pairs of boots worth £60, which is very similar in price to a pair of mass produced boots made in China by a big name company.

    Also look for local organic products, such as Pollen Organics.
    Obviously, things like chocolate means ingredients have to be imported, but the chocolate can be made in the UK. Montezuma chocolate based in Chichester is an example, which also shows that you can’t go by the name either.

  8. Interesting challenge! I presume you’re just going for the item itself to be made in Britain and not worrying about components and packaging, etc. (eg British made clothing is likely to still use zips, poppers, buttons etc made in China etc; and I doubt most of the plastic containers for Rimmel makeup is produced in the UK). Can I suggest the UK handmade site Folksy for items like clothing, handmade soaps, gifts, toys, kitchenware etc – all made in Britain by smallscale craftspeople. But do obviously have common sense – eg if looking for a top some will be sewn from scratch in the UK, some will be say a commercially available t-shirt made in China or the US which has been screenprinted with an original design here in the UK. Now a plug (sorry!) – if you have a cat I make cat collars here in the UK at!! Good luck!

  9. Gill Stevenson says

    I don’t know if you know about these people, who make bibs in Nottingham

  10. If you are looking for more yummy British wine, have a look at Camel Valley ( Amazing fizzy (both white and interestingly red too).

    • Katy Brown says

      Katy B
      I was really interested to stumble upon your site and to hear what you are doing. I do try to buy as much English food as I can but knowing what you are doing, I am going to try harder to support even more English companies. Keep up the good work and I am sure your website will be a treasure trove of sites of where to buy English produce and goods. It will be vey interesting to see just how much success that you have, hopefully it will also encourage English companies to produce even more. Good luck

  11. HI
    If your looking for garlic we visited the garlic farm on the IOW last year they produce and grow there own produce you might
    like to try them. Wishing you the best.

  12. You can get a vegetarian parmesan substitute made in the UK, we bought it in our local farm shop.

  13. Just a personal “like” I have No connection but I’m in Sussex, try these guys YUM !

  14. This is such an interesting experiment! Did you find a significant price difference in the total of your big shop compared with your usual multi-national big shops?

  15. Instead of struggling to find British wine in your supermarket, how about buying beer or cider instead? We still make plenty of that here in the UK.

  16. Congratulations on your efforts! I think we can let you off buying your petrol via British sources ;D

  17. Nicola says

    You might want to check out how that ‘healthy’ rapeseed oil is produced before substituting it entirely for olive oil. Farmers habitually spray oil see rape with Round Up, a systemic herbicide produced by Monsanto, before harvesting. As a result, the rape plants die and dry out and are then easier to harvest. Meanwhile the Round Up has penetrated the entire plant… appetisiing, huh?

  18. Hey, your campaign sounds great! Thought you might be interested: English wine or Welsh wine is wine that is made in England/Wales from grapes grown in England/Wales respectively, whereas British wine is made in Britain, from grape juice grown abroad. An important distinction that can lead to confusion!

  19. Hello
    I’m from Suffolk and am fairly sure that Aspall’s do make all their ciders and vinegars here in lovely East Anglia! Your experimental year sounds brilliant, best of luck with it. I’m wondering if you will end up with British companies falling over themselves to give you free stuff, which is great but will reduce the chances of working out the impact on your budget of buying British. Have you decided yet what you will do if you do get given lots of stuff?

  20. Toiletries wise have you checked out lush? A British made and manufactured company 🙂 admittedly not all items put into their handmade toiletries are British.

  21. Sounds like you’ll have some interesting shopping trips! As a vinegar connoisseur I am surprised that you had difficulty finding British Vinegar – we have travelled the world and struggle to find proper vinegar in most other countries (other than as a cleaning product). I just checked our sarsons bottles and they claim to be produced in Lincolnshire – perhaps one worth checking out? Good luck! 🙂

  22. Hi. I’m not a Brit, but have see your point of view. I mostly buy british fruit in season (boring, haha), except when I fancy something a little more exotic from back home (South Africa). My reasons for this are merely the quality – or lack thereof in the continental fare.

    Good luck in your adventure. We’re all rooting for you!

Leave a Reply

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed