The Co-operative Group has become the first retailer to switch its own-label sliced bread range to 100% British wheat.

The switch is across the society's 10-strong own-label bread range and includes both its value offering Simply Value and its premium range Truly Irresistible.

As part of the move, the society will source 14,000 tonnes of flour a year from 4,000 British farmers to make around 7.9 million loaves of bread a year.

"This is a major initiative for The Co-op Group and a great move for British farming," said Elizabeth Bailey, product manager for bakery. "We're proud to be sourcing 100% British wheat for these essential items."

The Co-op is the only retailer to convert its sliced range to 100% British wheat. Both Tesco and Sainsbury's use 100% British wheat for products made in their in-store bakeries but not in sliced pre-packed loaves.

It is not the first UK company to convert to British. Hovis switched to 100% British wheat in January this year. Rival Warburtons axed plans in May to make two all-British loaves for the first time, claiming there were "bigger fish to fry than provenance". But in June it renewed its milling wheat contract with British farmers, extending its agreement up to 2016.