Tesco’s shift to fictional farm brands, already heavily criticised by farmers, has been described by NFU Scotland president, Allan Bowie, as “disrespectful” and a move that undermines the industry’s provenance message, throughout the UK.
Warning that Tesco, as the UK’s largest retailer, sets trends which others follow, Mr Bowie (pictured above) has used his weekly blog to highlight the supermarket’s use of fictional brands, such as Rosedene Farm, for products drawn from a number of sources.
“As farmers we have worked hard to achieve accreditation with countless assurance schemes,” he said. “These schemes are testament to the quality of Scottish and British farmers and yet it appears that we are no more valued than producers elsewhere in the world, who work to different standards and who do not support our rural economy.”
Making a carefully chosen contrast, however, the NFUS president also reported on recent meetings with Aldi and Morrisons, stating that “these retailers” deeply value domestic produce, believing in the importance of stocking British and Scottish pork, beef and lamb all year round.
“Importantly, they are doing this because they believe, as I do, that this is what shoppers want,” he said.
Tesco’s move, meanwhile, was creating further complexity for shoppers by making it more difficult for British consumers to identify home-produced food.