Scotland’s pig industry and the Scottish SPCA has welcomed a commitment from Aldi to support the country’s pioneering welfare label.
From this week, shoppers visiting Aldi, which has 46 stores located throughout Scotland, will see labels stating “Specially Selected Pork Approved by the Scottish SPCA” on all Scottish-origin fresh pork packs on the retailer’s shelves.
This move follows ongoing discussions between representatives from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Aldi and Ayrshire-based Lynch Meats, most recently at the Royal Highland Show.
“Today’s announcement by Aldi is an excellent result for the Scottish pig industry,” QMS chairman Jim McLaren said. “Consumers are increasingly stating that animal welfare is a priority when making purchase decisions, and Aldi’s commitment will help to further boost awareness of our industry’s excellent welfare credentials.
“We look forward to other retailers seizing the opportunity to stock a brand which meets consumers’ requirements for provenance, quality assurance and welfare.”
The Specially Selected Pork label was launched to highlight the high welfare standard of pigs on Scottish farms. Pig units throughout the country are visited by Scottish SPCA inspectors as part of the ground-breaking initiative behind the label. The initiative was the UK’s first farm assurance and food labeling scheme independently approved by a national animal welfare charity.
Participation is voluntary, but about 98% of total Scottish pig production has now been inspected by the Scottish SPCA. The integrity of the scheme is founded on the fact that the Scottish SPCA receives no income, either directly or through any subsidiary, from the inspections. As a result, consumers can have complete confidence in the impartiality and independence of the inspection process.
Aldi, which recently won The Grocer magazine’s “Grocer of the Year” award, as well as being named “Supermarket of the Year 2013″ by Which?, is supplied by Lynch Quality Meats, which sources pork products from processors including Millers of Speyside and Robertson’s Fine Foods.
“As part of an ongoing commitment to source quality Scottish produce, Aldi is proud to be working with QMS on this significant welfare initiative,” the retailers managing director for Scotland, Richard Holloway, said. “Sourcing food with integrity is of utmost importance to Aldi, and our Scottish pork range is now well established across our Scottish stores.”