The NPA called for some of the big retailers to do more to support the British pig sector, after the latest Porkwatch survey showed mixed support when it comes to stocking British pork products.
Five of the UK’s big retailers – Aldi, Co-op, M&S, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s – stocked 100% British fresh British pork in March. Waitrose was down to at 99%, due to a branded Iberico product, while Lidl was at 98% due to some non-British special buys, and Budgens was down from 95% to 91%, the latest AHDB Porkwatch survey showed.
There was little movement, however, from two of the UK’s biggest retailers – Tesco’s British pork facings were up from 57% in January to 58%, while Asda was also on 58% in March, down slightly from January, although both were up on a year ago. Iceland had just 24% British pork on display.
Overall, across the 11 retailers surveyed, the percentage of British pork on display went up slightly to 81%, while bacon was up from 55% to 57%, ham was slightly down at 65% and sausage was stable at 86%.
You can see the full survey results HERE
The best performers were M&S, which also recorded 100% British on bacon and sausage and 98% on ham, and Co-op, with 100% on bacon, 99% and 82% on sausage, while Waitrose was above 90% across all four categories. All three were close to 100% across the board on own label products.
Aldi again recorded 100% on sausages and Sainsbury’s had high percentages of British across all categories, including 78% on bacon, with even better percentages on own label, with Morrisons improving on bacon at 62% but behind Sainsbury’s on most categories. Lidl was good on sausage at 93%, but poor on bacon, 29% and ham, 44%.
Could do better
As well as relatively low figures for pork, Asda stocked only 26% British ham and 36% bacon, while Tesco was at 42% for bacon, albeit well up on a year ago, and 60% for ham, down from 65% in January. They recorded relatively healthy figures of 85% and 84% respectively for sausage. For both retailers, their proportion of own label British bacon and ham was below the percentage for branded products.
Among the smaller players, Budgens was at 30% for bacon and 32% for ham, while no British bacon at all was found in Iceland stores and just 21% of its ham was British.
As the NPA puts pressure on retailers to back struggling British pig farmers by sourcing British pork products wherever possible and paying enough to ensure producers can at least match soaring production costs, chief executive Zoe Davies thanked retailers that are doing their bit, but said some needed to try a lot harder.
“In many ways, retailers hold the key to the future of the British pig industry. We’ve already lost 43,000 sows, 10% of our production capacity, during this crisis and we will lose a lot more if we don’t see significantly higher pig prices very soon.
“Some retailers are continuing to back British pig farming in their sourcing policies, and some, but not nearly enough, are genuinely trying to get more money to producers. But we need to see a lot more commitment from some our biggest names in the retail sector to secure the future of British pig production.
“We understand why there is a focus on trying to keep prices down in stores – but that must not be at the cost of producers at the sharp end of the supply chain.
“If retailers lose their supply of British pork, they won’t get it back and their consumers will be missing out – it is in everyone’s interest to back British pig producers at this time.”