An “abysmal selection” of British gammons are on offer this Christmas says the National Pig Association (NPA), naming Asda at the worst performer with British product making up only 8% of its gammon shelf-facings.
The NPA verdict follows the conclusion of its GammonWatch programme, during which association members surveyed 150 supermarkets in 68 towns and cities, checking gammon displays to see which were British-based and which weren’t.
“We know high street competition is intense at present, but surely Asda could at least match the hard discounters and display a reasonable number of British gammons,” said NPA chairman Richard Lister.
“We recognise there is a glut of pork in the European Union at present, and the strength of sterling makes it available over here at an attractive price. But if retailers want the convenience of a thriving British pig sector on their doorstep, producing reliable supplies 52 weeks of the year of a quality-assured, traceable, high-welfare product, then it’s essential they make a special effort to support British pig farmers, particularly at present when an increasing number are selling pigs at a loss.”
NPA chief executive Dr Zoe Davies added that while nobody was calling for all British supermarkets to stock 100% British gammons, there were plenty of British pork legs available and that she hoped the poor retail performers will be much more supportive in future.
“Indeed, we urge them to redress the balance immediately, by making a special effort to support British producers across all pork categories as we enter the difficult New Year period,” she said.
Finishing on a more positive note, NPA concluded that its supermarket surveyors had found “exemplary support” for British gammons by Waitrose, M&S and the Co-op, all selling 100% British gammons, and at competitive prices.