‘Great British’ pork crackling brand admits using imported ingredients

The company behind the iconic Mr Trotter’s Great British Pork Cracklings brand has admitted it has been imported its ingredients since last year.

But it said it is now hoping to find British suppliers of bacon rind again, after acknowledging it risks misleading the public with its British branding.

Mr Trotter’s was established in November 2011 with the intention of being the first commercially available pork cracklings of the present era to be made with British pigs. But in a statement, Mr Trotter’s said the company found it could no longer be assured of British supplies in 2018 ‘due to the company’s high specifications and the diminishing size of the British pig herd’.

As a result, ‘continental rinds are of necessity making up the main percentage of that company’s supply,’ it said, adding that it has removed references to 100% British rind on its packaging and now references continental pork.

The company recently signed up to the Happerley traceability scheme, which, currently being trialled by the Mid-Counties Co-op in Gloucestershire, requires companies to state the details of where their ingredients come from. Mr Trotter’s said the scheme had raised the question of whether it risked misleading the customer by calling call itself a ‘Great British’ brand.

Rupert Ponsonby, the co-founder of the company, said it was now hoping, with the help of Happerley and its supporters, to find ‘regular supplies of high quality British rind’, although he stressed it was ‘tough’ to find the right specification. “It is time we worked together to find a solution, so we can again raise our percentage of British pork,” he said.

Two of the original founders, food writers Matthew Fort and Tom Parker Bowles, resigned as directors when the company started using imported ingredients, as their purpose from the outset was to find a way of supporting British farmers.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said the association was ‘thoroughly disappointed with the move’.

“I am saddened that they failed to come to us first to look for alternative solutions before making the switch, such as sourcing British Red Tractor assured pork, but assume this decision has largely been driven by cost rather than issues with sourcing British and to suggest as much is wholly disingenuous.

“We will certainly be in touch with the company to see what we can do to bring this hugely iconic brand back into repute.”

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.