Porkwatch figures expose differences in Sainsbury’s and Asda sourcing policies

The latest AHDB Porkwatch survey has highlighted the contrasting sourcing policies of Sainsbury’s and Asda when it comes to British pork.

The planned merger of the retail giants has inevitably raised questions about how it will impact on the pork supply chain, in terms of both price and where the new UK market leader will source its pork, if the deal goes through.

Although it ditched using the Red Tractor logo on pack a few years ago, Sainsbury’s has generally been a good supporter of British farmers – and has tried to make this part of its marketing pitch to customers.

In contrast Asda’s record on sourcing British pork, in particular, is appalling. The March Porkwatch survey confirms these differences.

Sainsbury’s made the greatest strides of any retailer in the March survey, leading a big increase in the overall proportion of British bacon on the shelves of UK supermarkets.

The proportion of British bacon in Sainsbury’s stores increased to 62% in March from just 43% in January and 37% a year ago. This increase was reflected across the majority of stores audited, with three-quarters having more British bacon that non-British.

Sainsbury’s also scored 100% for pork, 94% for ham and 82% for sausage, making it the best of the ‘big 4′ (as they still are for now) when it comes to sourcing its pork from the UK, with Morrisons not far behind.

Asda, meanwhile, was rock bottom among the 10 retailers surveyed, its customary position. This has been the story for some time – in fact, only Tesco comes anywhere close in terms of the proportion of imported pig meat products on its shelves.

The March survey showed Asda stocked just 21% British bacon, down from 30% in January. It also posted the lowest figures for pork, 44%, and ham, 36%, while its figure of 76% for sausage was the only one that compared with other retailers.

Across all categories, that is a lot of imported pigmeat.

Other Porkwatch highlights

  • porkwatchlogoAcross the 10 retailers surveyed, 51% of bacon on display in March was British, compared with 49% in January and 44% in March 2017.
  • Significant gains on bacon were also recorded by Tesco, Lidl and, year-on-year, the Co-op, which remains at 100% for bacon.
  • The overall figures for the other categories were largely unchanged, with pork at 79%, ham 66% and sausage 84%.
  • Waitrose, M&S and the Co-op were the best performers across all four categories.
  • All retailers except Asda and Tesco (66%) scored 100% on pork.

The full March data can be viewed here

NPA view

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “The latest Porkwatch survey highlights the vast difference in the approach of the two retailers to sourcing pigmeat.

“Sainsbury’s has, among the ‘big 4’, generally been a strong supporter of the British pig industry, whereas Asda has not. These latest Porkwatch figures only reinforce that.

“Our hope, if this deal goes through, is that Sainsbury’s brings Asda closer to its sourcing standards, rather than Asda dragging Sainsbury’s down, although comments on savings across the board don’t exactly fill us with confidence.

“We will keep a close eye on how this consolidation in the supply chain will affect competitiveness among buyers and prices for primary producers.”

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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.