Tuesday 21 October 2014

Wheat shortage hits biscuit pledge

Published 03/05/2013 | 13:56

Digestive packs currently carry a logo with the Union flag and a pledge that only British wheat is used
Production of Digestive biscuits has been hit by last year's poor wheat harvest
McVitie's could be forced to use imported wheat for its Digestive biscuits

Last year's poor wheat harvest is set to force the makers of one of Britain's best-loved biscuits to use imported wheat.

Packets of McVitie's Digestives currently carry a logo with the Union flag and a pledge that only 100% British wheat is used.

But according to The Grocer magazine, the snack company's owner United Biscuits has admitted it will probably have to start using a blend of UK and imported wheat in the coming months.

The Grocer reported that the food company tried to use as much British wheat as possible, but a United Biscuits spokesman explained "the British weather, and consequently crop yields, are variable".

"So we have arrangements to blend in wheat from other sources to maintain the high quality of our products."

The crop of soft wheat - especially good for certain types of biscuits - was particularly hard-hit by the low yield in the UK.

Michael Marriage, the managing director of Doves Farm, an organic flour supplier, said: "Soft wheat makes a very soft flour that is brilliant for biscuits but we are one of the few places that grow it - so it's not easy to get more."

The Grocer news editor Ronan Hegarty said: "With the Jubilee and Olympics last year a lot of brands saw great potential in promoting their British credentials, unfortunately the classic British weather is making it almost impossible for them to meet some of their pledges."

Other big brands forced to renege on 100%-British sourcing pledges include Hovis and Weetabix Minis, the magazine reported.

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