Ever wondered where your sugar is coming from? Want to know how many air miles your tea has travelled to get to your cupboard?

I know I’m not alone when I say I can’t stand having to do another weekly food shop. Planning my meals, clearing out my fridge, and setting aside my budget. It’s an absolute chore in itself. I’m so stressed about all the other jobs that come with doing a food shop that the last thing I’m doing is considering is how many air miles the ingredients on my shopping list have.

But when I found out about ‘food miles’, I was shocked at how far some of my typical everyday foods were coming from. For those who don’t know, food miles pretty much just tell you how many miles your ingredients have travelled to get to you- quite self-explanatory to be fair

An ingredient having high food miles isn’t always bad and doesn’t always mean you should swap to British-grown. In fact, it’s more environmentally friendly to import tomatoes from Spain than it is to grow them in Britain with specialist equipment.

Butttt most of the time, it’s probably not too good for the environment if your strawberries are flying halfway across the world to get to your plate. If you were interested in knowing whether your food comes from down the road or from a land down under, keep reading! 

The analysis of imports is based on OEC food import data in 2021.


The UK’s biggest import of bananas comes all the way from tropical Colombia! The value of these imports is a whopping £116 million a year. 

If your banana has come from Colombia to your local supermarket, it will have travelled around 5,200 miles to get to you. Who knew that fruit could be so well travelled!


The biggest import of tea to the UK comes from sunny Kenya! Tea is the largest trade industry in Kenya, and it transports £114m worth of it to the UK a year.

If your teabags have come from Kenya, they have travelled 6,545.2 miles to get to you


Milk is quite often produced in the UK with British cows, but we still import £178 million worth of milk from Ireland.

Of course, this is not as far as South Africa or Kenya, but milk from Ireland travels around 237 miles to get to the UK! 


South Africa imports the largest amount of grapes to the UK! The value of these imports is huge, weighing in at around £173 million a year. 

If your grapes have been imported from South Africa then they will have travelled around 6,800 miles to end up at your door!


Unsurprisingly, Germany is one of the biggest suppliers of sausages to the UK, with their imports coming in at an average of £189 million a year. 

If your sausages come from Germany, then they will have travelled 904 miles to get to you!


Want some sugar to go with your Kenyan tea? Well, your sugar is more than likely to have come from Brazil, which imports a third of all our sugar, around £132 million a year!

This sugar will have flown about 5,568 miles to get in your tea. Makes you wonder why it’s called “British tea” ey? 


India is the UK’s largest supplier of rice, importing a whopping £197 million worth of rice to the UK yearly.

If your bowl of rice has come from India, then it will have travelled a crazy 4700 miles!


Last but certainly not least, your treasured bottles of wine are most likely to have been made in France, with the French importing a crazy £1.66 BILLION worth of wine to the UK! 

Your cheeky 5pm glass of wine will have travelled 679 miles to end up on your table. 


Like I said, lots of air miles don’t always necessarily equate to a bad environmental impact. But the more they can be reduced, the better! If you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, look out for British-grown produce in your supermarkets and try and shop locally where possible, your butchers and farmers will be thankful for it!