As well as the almost obligatory jams, the line-up is likely to include baked goods and cakes. Marketed as an alternative to homemade food, it would target those too busy to cook.
The federation said it had discussed launching branded goods for several years but had only now moved to seriously investigate the idea. No decision had been made on what the range would be called, but the federation recently sought to trademark the name WI Foods under product classes 29 to 31 which comprise a wide range of foods and class 32, which includes beers and non-alcoholic drinks.
A spokeswoman said the federation would look to work with established, family-run businesses in developing and producing the goods and would sell the products through these suppliers, online and potentially in supermarkets. She added that there was not yet a proposed launch date. The WI had picked a good time to develop branded food, said Claire Nuttall, MD of branding agency 1HQ. "Ongoing demand for local and authentic products has a great fit with the categories they are thinking about."
She added that plans to work with smaller producers and offer an alternative to home-made was a good move, flagging up the success of the Bonne Maman conserves and desserts brand. "Bonne Maman is perceived to be pretty much as good as home-made, so it will be interesting to see how they differentiate from this," she said. "Home-grown with British produce and made in England would be a strong differentiator if it could be genuinely supported."
The UK WI was set up during the First World War to encourage women to get involved in food production and increase supply to the nation. It regularly takes high-profile positions in debates about food and farming, linking with the NFU to campaign for higher milk prices for farmers and, recently, hosting a debate on large-scale farming.