Scotland’s major retailers, some of them at least, have been warned that they “must go further” to support the Scottish pig sector through troubled times.
The warning follows an NFU Scotland (NFUS) initiative in which its pig producing members embarked on a shelf watch exercise, looking at the fresh pork being offered in a number of large retail outlets. The results, based on studying nine different supermarket chains and 20 different stores, have been described by the union as “concerning”.
“Aldi and Lidl were found to be the strongest supporters of Scottish fresh pork with the vast majority of pork in these stores originating from Scotland,” said NFUS. “Strong support for the domestic pig industry was also seen in Marks and Spencer and Waitrose where 100% of fresh pork and bacon was British. UK-only displays of pork were also evident in the Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Co-operative Food stores visited.
“The biggest disappointment for producers, however, was the discovery that Tesco and Asda were both found to be offering significant quantities of European pork over British and Scottish produce. Those taking part in the shelf watch also noted significant product co-mingling in these stores making it difficult for consumers to identify and support domestically produced pork when located alongside imported meat.”
NFUS pigs working group chairman, Kevin Gilbert (pictured above) was particularly strong in his comment on the Tesco and Asda failings.
“It is evident from our examination of Scottish shop shelves that some of our biggest retailers can go much further to support our industry,” he said. “Fresh Scottish Pork was hard to find in many of the Tesco and Asda stores surveyed and, disappointingly, there were significant volumes of imported meat.
“Farmers are working hard in challenging conditions and producing to the highest standards of welfare and quality. We need to see our produce valued across the supply chain. We know that consumers want to buy locally produced sustainable food and the continued co-mingling of produce makes it difficult for them to identify pork which originates here, in Scotland.”