Tesco announces extra funding to support the UK pig industry  

Tesco has announced £10 million in extra funding for UK pig farmers, including £6.6m to be paid over the summer, in response to the soaring costs of production facing pig producers.

The NPA has recently led calls for Tesco to do more to support the pig industry, writing to chief executive Ken Murphy, pointing out that most of its rivals among the big retailers have already taken steps to get more money to producers.

The UK’s biggest retailer has now announced an accelerated and enhanced payment plan that will see Tesco suppliers increase payments to farmers by £6.6m until August. Tesco said this will bring its support for farmers to a total of £10million since the start of March 2022. It said it will work with its suppliers to ensure the investment gets passed to farmers as quickly as possible.

Tesco said it has been supporting the industry since the turn of the year to help tackle the other major challenge it’s faced by stepping forward and taking more pigs to help clear the backlog of animals on British farms, adding that, since January, it has taken an extra 32,000 pigs, and plans to take a further extra 22,000 in the months ahead.

The support follows a number of initiatives designed to help British pig farmers and boost the amount of British pork in Tesco stores. Measures include:

  • Adding more fresh British pork products in store – five lines have recently been moved to British supply in recent weeks.
  • Introducing an additional 15 pork promotions in store for customers since January
  • Launching an ‘I Love British’ brand in our bacon range, with a ham product launching later this month. As part of the brand, a 5p per pack contribution will be passed onto farmers in the supply chain.
  • The continued growth of Tesco’s Finest range of pork products, including fresh pork, sausages, bacon & cooked meat products which are all RSPCA Assured and Red Tractor certified.
  • Overall, Tesco has increased its British Pork products by 30% compared to last year.

In the longer-term, Tesco has committed to reviewing pricing on a more frequent basis, providing more flexibility for farmers when market prices change. It said it will also work with UK suppliers to build a closer relationship with farmers, increase transparency in pig supply chains and ensure they are sustainable for the long-term.

Tesco Fresh Commercial Director, Dominic Morrey said: “We fully recognise the seriousness of the situation UK pig farmers are facing and have been working closely with our suppliers to understand what more we can do to support the sector.

“On top of the increased volume of British pork we’re now offering our customers, we will be increasing payments to British pig farmers by £10m through to August this year.

“We know there is more to do, and we will be working with suppliers, farmers and the wider industry to drive more transparency and sustainability across our supply chains and support the future of the British pig industry.”

Jim Brisby, Chief Commercial Officer for Tesco pork supplier, Cranswick said: “We’ve been working with Tesco to find a more sustainable way of paying our farmers for pigs, and we are pleased with the progress we have made to increase the availability of British pork to Tesco shoppers, and are continuing to work with the team to significantly increase these volumes even further over the next few months.

“The announcement today regarding the increased prices paid to British farmers will also help to support those farmers supplying Tesco.”

NPA chairman Rob Mutimer said: “We are very pleased that Tesco has responded following our letter to chief executive Ken Murphy, with some much-needed extra financial support for the pig industry.

“This is a very welcome boost for beleaguered pig farmers, who are currently facing unprecedented costs of production and need a tangible increase in the price they are being paid in order to stay in business.

“We look forward to seeing the pig price rising very soon as a result of this action and hopefully we can begin to stem the flow of producers exiting the industry.”

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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.