Poor weather hits ‘pig harvest’ – Tesco explains lack of British pork on shelves

In an early contender for the most bizarre pig-related tweet of the year, Tesco has told its 644,000 followers that the reason for a lack of British pork on its shelves is a weather-affected poor harvest. 

In a communication that has generated a mix of anger, bemusement and amusement across the farming sector, the UK’s biggest retailer went on to assure customers that it hopes to be ‘in British supply soon’.

Tomorrow, people from across the industry will visit a Tesco store in Leeds to promote the #biteintobritish campaign and encourage consumers to seek out British pork and other British farm products on retail shelves.

Tesco, which has angered the farming industry in the past with its fake farm brands, has appeared on a number of Twitter timelines as people have highlighted the high proportion of imported pork on its shelves.

This reinforces the findings from the latest AHDB Porkwatch survey, which showed that while eight of the 10 biggest retailers stock virtually 100% British fresh pork, Tesco still relies heavily on imported pork, along with Asda, although it has at least significantly upped the proportion of British pork on its shelves the survey showed.

Tesco was questioned on Twitter today by Vicky Morgan, one of the organisers, of the #biteintobritish event. She wrote: “interesting to hear from quite a few consumers now, a number of retail outlets seem short of British Pork on their shelves? – any ideas why when we can’t sell it??”

In reply, ‘Kayley’ on Tesco’s Twitter feed, said: “Hi Vicky, we source from a variety of countries to ensure we have the best quality all year. The weather this year has meant that the UK harvest has been slightly delayed but we hope to be in British supply soon.”

Tesco tweetThis inevitably prompted a lively response from the industry.

Vicky, herself, responded: “That reply pretty much says it all!!! For one, we don’t harvest British Pork, and secondly we supply all year round!! Whatever you are talking about (god help us if it is pork) British produce is of the highest quality #biteintobritish”

Pig farmer Flavian Obiero added: “I hope this Kayley is a bot @Tesco because Kayley doesn’t know that 1. pork isn’t harvested & 2. regardless of the weather, pork production carries on in the UK. What kind of response is this?! #BackBritishFarming #biteintobritish @SaveGBBacon @BiteintoBritish”

Temple Farm Devon’s response was short and to the point: “Utter nonsense Tesco.”

There were more along these lines.

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About The Author

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.