Asda’s new PorkLink pigmeat sourcing scheme, which has been launched in conjunction with Yorkshire-based processor Cranswick Country Foods, aims to do more than just ensure a sustainable source of British pork for the supermarket’s shelves.
According to Asda agricultural development manager Pearce Hughes, the scheme will provide a range of benefits for PorkLink farmers to help them develop their businesses and give them the security of a known market for their pigs.
“We are committed to building long-term partnerships with PorkLink farmers and want to build sustainable relationships which everyone in the supply chain from the farm to the fork can benefit from,” he said, adding that the key to the success of the new scheme would be a number of initiatives being organised jointly by Asda and Cranswick Country Foods, says Mr Hughes.
“By working with Cranswick Country Foods we hope to be able to help PorkLink farmers maximise herd productivity and margins and drive their businesses forward,” Mr Hughs said. “Central to the future will be a focus on meat quality and we have already started work looking at genetic development streams to deliver improved eating quality at affordable prices.
“Alongside this we are actively investigating a number of knowledge gaps for further research to ensure PorkLink farmers remain at the forefront of the British pork industry.”
Other areas under development include a group buying scheme to leverage scale to generate discounts across a range of core farm inputs, such as feed and power, Cranswick Country Food’s agricultural manager, Tom Slay, said. Work is also already underway establish a scheme to encourage young stockpeople into the industry. The aim is to ensure we have sufficient numbers of top quality, highly trained stock people to take the industry forward and ensure the highest welfare standards.
Asda and Cranswick Country Foods will also encourage farmers to gain a greater understanding of the pig supply chain, with ‘Walk the Chain’ events following pigs from farm through to the supermarket shelf and giving farmers access to scholarships to undertake study tours to identify the latest technology and systems in operation across the globe.
“We intend to help our pig farmers become the very best in the UK, and indeed the world, through the adoption of new technologies and through a partnership approach to problem solving,” Mr Hughes said. “And it goes without saying that, as in our other supply chain partnerships, we’ll be paying a premium price for those pigs that meet our carcase quality criteria, based on fat level and carcase weight.
“We firmly believe that incentivising producers is the best way to reward them for producing consistent carcases on a regular basis.” he said.
Speaking at the launch of the new PorkLink scheme at the Great Yorkshire Show, in Harrogate, Asda’s senior red meat trader, Jim Viggars, said Asda wanted to work closely with Cranswick Country Foods and its supplying pig farmers to develop a sustainable future for them.
“We want to ensure a sustainable future for every pig farmer supplying us,” he said. “We need a secure supply of British pig meat and that needs British pig farmers to be there in future. Ultimately we’d love to sell more British pigmeat, but we can’t do that without pig farmers.
“Crucially we need to work with pig farmers to supply what the consumer wants and we have to ensure our pork offering is consistent and delivers great value for our customers.”