The NPA is urging members of the public to ‘Make it British’ as falling prices for EU pork starts to attract cheaper imports.
UK price has remained remarkably stable during the COVID-19 pandemic – the Standard Pig Price (SPP) during the week ended May 16, stood at 164.34p/kg, compared with just over 163/kg in early March.
But across the EU, where there has been more disruption to plants from COVID-19 and supply chains have found the transition from foodservice to retail, the EU Reference Price stood at just below 144p/kg in the week ended May 10, a huge drop from a figure of 172p/kg in late-March. Virtually every major EU pork producer is seeing falling prices, as the following highlights:
EU Reference Prices (p/kg) March 22 May 10
Germany 180.37 149.17
Netherlands 160.87 126.97
Denmark 184.57 162.92
Spain 174.68 146.85
France 152.22 136.31
Poland 166.89 130.22
This is resulting in an influx of cheap pork products into the UK from the likes of Spain, Germany and Belgium particularly into Smithfield market.
“The concern is that butchers, whose popularity has sky-rocketed as people try and support local businesses during the COVID outbreak, might be tempted by cheap pork that is coming in through wholesalers and switch from their usual British product,” NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said.
“On-line meat wholesalers, too, are doing a roaring trade offering great deals on social media. Supermarkets may also be tempted by the lower prices, although it is far easier to track and therefore challenge these changes.”
With this in mind, the NPA is looking to encourage consumers to #MakeitBritishPork! by spreading the message on social media and encouraging members and supporters to get involved.
Zoe added: “There is no doubt that some outlets will be tempted by the cheaper prices of imports on offer, so we want to raise customer awareness, ask them to check the origin of what they are buying and ensure that it is British.
“At a time when there is a global shortage of protein, and great uncertainty in the marketplace, we expect the supply chain to back the British pig industry – and the high quality, delicious Red Tractor Assured pork products it produces to world-leading standards.”
What you can do
To help, you can:
- Circulate the message on social media – follow @GBPork on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
- Take pictures of examples of both good and bad practice in retailers, butchers and other places selling pork and post them on social media, with the hashtag #MakeitBritishPork or email them to [email protected]
- Look for country of origin you wouldn’t normally expect to see such as Spain or Poland and send us pictures
- If it isn’t clear, ask whoever is selling the pork where it has come from – if they don’t respond to you, you can probably guarantee it isn’t from this country!
- Spread the word among friends and family to support the British pig industry.