If you’re confused about which brands are still UK-made, you’re not alone. A campaign for a new logo identifying British brands was met with popular support after half of us admitted we were unsure which brands are British.
And it’s hardly surprising. A company will invest fortunes in a brand because the image – not the factory – is worth the money when that company is sold.
So while ownership might change hands and nationality a hundred times, what was once a British brand can carry on looking like one. HP’s HQs may now be with Heinz in America, but its sauce still carries a picture of the Houses of Parliament.
Rolls Royce, the Mini and even Thames Water have been sold to German companies; Manchester United is American; Jaguar is now Indian; Harry Ramsden is Swedish; Hamley’s Icelandic and even the Body Shop was sold – to the French.
Does being British-made matter?
But if products are still made in the same way – and look the same, taste the same and smell the same as a result – does it matter? Would a mere change in ownership mean you’d stop buying a product you love? Or would knowing it wasn’t British-made (though maybe still pretending to be) somehow seem fraudulent or change your feelings?
The questions become more complicated for modern appliances and products assembled from hundreds of parts from various countries. It’d be hard to feel patriotic allegiance if a product has ‘Made in the UK’ slapped on as the last part in a continent-hopping assembly line.
The Made in Britain logo was launched by British company Stoves with the backing of UK manufacturers and MPs. To qualify, companies must say ‘the majority’ of their production or manufacturing takes place in the UK – though this isn’t policed by Stoves, with companies certifying their own eligibility.
So far over 100 manufacturers have applied for the logo, including Samuel Heath (Bathrooms), Roman Showers, The Pure H2O company, Ultima Furniture, Chalon (Kitchens), Big Bale Transtacker, Taylor Bins, Anglia Kitchens and Bathrooms LTD, Perrin and Rowe (Taps), Bartuf (Retail display manufacturers) and Primisil Silicones LTD.
Do you want to buy British?
According to Stoves’ research, over a third of British consumers say they’d buy British more often if it were easier to identify British products. It’s a noble sentiment, but would it change when we see the price tag carried by products from profitable, 100% British manufacturers?
Some foods and drinks already carry Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) labels that let consumers know that foods like Jersey Royals and Cornish Clotted Cream are made according to tradition and in the designated area. Yet the UK only has 16 registered PDOs, compared with France’s 82 and Italy’s 143.
If we care so much about provenance and protecting British industry, why don’t we fly the flag for more of our products? And why not take it a step further by voting with our feet to help defend shops and local producers from the global brands that undercut them? The question is, will the Made in Britain logo help us do this?
Would a Made in Britain logo help you buy British?
Yes it would (84%, 907 Votes)
No it wouldn't (9%, 92 Votes)
I don't care about buying British (7%, 78 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,077