Retailers stocking less British bacon, Porkwatch survey shows

Asda and Tesco have significantly increased the volume of imported bacon on their shelves as overall volumes of British bacon on retail shelves fall back substantially year-on-year.

The March Porkwatch survey showed, overall, 44% of bacon sold by the top 10 retailers was British, up slightly on January but down from around 50% a year ago.

For Asda, which continues to be the worst performer by a distance, the figure was just 16%, compared with 20% in January and 28% a year ago. Asda also posted by far the lowest figure for pork (46%) and the second lowest for ham (32%), although both were up on January.

Tesco recorded a figure of just 35% for British bacon, down from 41% in January and a similar figure to a year ago. It was 9th out of 10 for pork (61%).

Sainsbury’s is also shown to be a major importer of bacon, although its figure of 37% British was a big improvement on January.

Morrisons recorded the highest figure for bacon (53%) of the ‘Big Four, while Co-op, which is aiming to move to 100% British Bacon in May, scored 66%, down from above 70% in January and a year ago.

Aldi (43%) and Lidl (39%) both recorded significant increases for bacon on a year ago.

Overall, in other categories, the top 10 retailers scored:

  • 79% for pork, up slightly on January and a year ago
  • 64% for ham, up slightly on January and a year ago
  • 84% for sausage, up slightly on January and 4% up on a year ago.

Other key findings from the bimonthly AHDB Pork survey included:

  • Waitrose and Marks & Spencer continue to lead the way, scoring 100% in three categories and 97% and 94% respectively on ham.
  • Of the rest, Aldi, Budgens, the Co-op, Lidl, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s all scored 100% on pork
  • Sainsbury’s scored well on ham (95%) and sausage (83%), while Morrisons was in the mid-range for ham (62%) and sausage (75%)
  • Lidl also posted 100% on sausage and Aldi 97%. Aldi also recorded a substantial year-on-year increase in ham to reach 54%
  • But Lidl was bottom of the pile on ham, scoring just 29%, down from 40% in January
  • Budgens recorded a big year-on-year rise in ham to reach 66%.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “As ever, we are grateful to those retailers that are backing British pork and shouting about it to their customers. And it is good to see the likes of Aldi, Lidl and Budgens making big strides forward in some categories.

“But the overall performance on bacon is disappointing and, as ever, the Porkwatch survey points the finger at Asda and Tesco as the worst offenders when it comes to turning their backs on British farmers. We expect better from them.”

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About The Author

Editor of Pig World and contributor to LBM’s other farming publications. Also National Pig Association webmaster. Formerly political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years. Enjoy a bit of media punditry. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm. Work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Under-9 football coach and big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.