Premier Foods plc has said it will begin using EU imported wheat for its Hovis brand, breaking its pledge to only use British wheat in its bread.

The company this morning (10 January) blamed last year’s poor harvest for the move, together with worries about this year’s crop due to recent flooding.

Premier said it plans to start introducing wheat from elsewhere in the EU across the Hovis range by the end of January with the exception of the Farmers Loaf range, which will continue to use all British wheat.

As a result, the group will remove the 100% British branding from the products.

Hovis introduced the claim as part of its championing of domestic farmers in 2010. Nonetheless, Premier said it remains “totally committed” to British wheat and will continue to buy “as much high quality British wheat as possible for 2013”.

In a statement, the company said: “With the 2012 UK wheat harvest being the worst for more than 35 years, the company is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the high quality bread standards that it requires. Therefore, it has been put in a challenging position and has had no option other than to use a percentage of imported wheat from the EU.”