A new study will look to establish consumers' attitudes to locally produced seasonal food and bring clarity to the C02 debate.

Defra has commissioned the University of Plymouth to gauge shoppers' attitudes as part of a wider project on seasonal produce. A further element of the study will include work by consultants Adas into the environmental impacts of seasonal fruit and veg.

Among the aims are establishing whether produce grown in season in its country of origin and imported has a higher or lower carbon footprint than the fruit and veg produced in the UK out-of-season.

The results of the survey, which will be published in November, will be used to formulate Defra's strategy for sustainable food. When this is combined with the environmental life-cycle assessment that Adas is conducting, the university hopes to have compelling data from which Defra can shape its policy.