Dairy Crest is spreading controversy in the butter sector, with a print ad for its Country Life brand that contrasts the food miles of a rival with its own British provenance.

The ad sticks the knife into Anchor butter - the number two brand in the market, behind Lurpak and ahead of Country Life - by flagging up the fact that it is transported from the other side of the world to the UK, while Country Life is produced here.

The wording of the ad reads: "Before Anchor butter reaches your table, it's frozen and shipped 11,000 miles from New Zealand. Country Life, however, is made with milk from British farms." It will go into national newspapers from Thursday (13 July).

About 60% of butter consumed in the UK is imported and Richard Tolley, Dairy Crest's marketing director, said the aim of the ad was to harness the upsurge of interest in provenance.

"The brand's key factors are freshness and Englishness," he added. "Country Life brand was launched in 1970 to counteract the growth in imported butter and it was the first major brand to be entitled to carry the Red tractor logo. We are proud of being an English butter."

It's not the first time the brand has criticised rivals. A 1970 ad campaign read: "Our cows are closer."

Arla Foods, which owns both the Anchor and Lurpak brands, refused to comment on the ad, saying it did not comment on competitors' activities.

The print ad forms part of a £6m brand marketing investment in the Country Life brand this year. A re-run of the TV execution, featuring computer-generated woodland animals and birds tidying a woman's home while she munches Country Life on toast, breaks next week to support the print ads.

Meanwhile, PR activity aims to encourage consumers to buy British.

Dairy Crest, which acquired Country Life 18 months ago, relaunched the brand last year and claims that sales have grown by 30% year-on-year, making it the fastest growing butter brand in that time.