Upmarket retailers Harrods and Fortnum & Mason have thrown their weight behind an initiative to promote British luxury food brands in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

The initiative, called Great Britain! The Greatest Brands! and launched by Walpole, the body that represents the British luxury industry, is aimed at positioning the UK as the luxury destination of the world, highlighting the fact that London has everything.

It has warned the UK government that it needs to support British luxury brands or risk losing out on the potential benefits of the London 2012 Olympics and the positive impact of the brands on the economy. Guy Salter, chairman of Walpole, said: "Although the luxury industry is strong, there are issues we need to deal with to get our act together in the run-up to the Olympics."

He said Walpole was hoping to meet prime minister Tony Blair and mayor of London Ken Livingstone to discuss the initiative and establish a luxury task force.