The dramatic shift in consumer habits during the COVID-19 lockdown has prompted Tesco to give processors a derogation to allow them to use Red Tractor indoor pork for its Finest range.
The retailer has accompanied the products with a sticker on the packaging explaining that the bacon was ‘made with British Red Tractor not RSPCA outdoor bred pork’ as stated on the packaging.
The NPA queried the move with Tesco after NPA staff and others in the industry spotted it in local stores.
Tesco said the decision was driven by the ‘unprecedented COVID-19 crisis’ and the ‘huge increase in the demand for meat products such as bacon’, including the panic buying, which ‘rapidly depleted’ available stocks.
“The curing process for bacon takes around a month, and so in order to keep up with customer demand, we temporarily moved to British Red tractor approved pork for a small proportion of our Finest bacon,” a spokesperson said.
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said she understood why Tesco had taken this step, which was a preferable option to simply importing more bacon to plug the gap.
“Our only concern was that the label could mislead customers about Red Tractor by suggesting that it only covers indoor pork, which of course is not the case. Tesco have agreed to discuss any similar future issues with Red Tractor,” she said.