Waitrose has strengthened its commitment to pay pig farmers a fair price during the worsening pig industry crisis.
Highlighting what it described as ‘the biggest crisis in a generation’ for pig farmers, with ‘falling prices impacting its financial sustainability’, the high-end retailer said it would be extending its pledge to pay a ‘fair and sustainable’ minimum price for pork to all of its dedicated farmers – even if prices continue to fall, as they currently are doing, alongside record costs of production.
The move extends its previous commitment announced in November 2021, which the retailer agreed to review on a regular basis. By agreeing to extend the pledge, Waitrose said it remained the only UK supermarket to support the sector through direct payments to farmers.
Jake Pickering, Waitrose’s senior agriculture manager said: “We need to support our farmers before it’s too late to save their bacon. They kept food on our tables through the pandemic, and we need to help them through their tough times too.
“By guaranteeing a base price for pork, we’re protecting farmers for the months ahead and allowing them to plan for a long-term, sustainable future.”
Details of the support were shared at the pig crisis summit, chaired by Farming Minister Victoria Prentis on Thursday.
Bringing together leading retailers alongside the NPA, NFU and leading pork processors, the meeting sought to find long-term solutions for the problem.
NPA chairman Rob Mutimer welcome Waitrose’s continued support of the British pig industry. “The commitment made shows that there is a huge amount retailers can do in terms of the price and promotion of British pork; only with their support can we plan for a sustainable future for our industry,” he said.
He urged other retailers to follow suit, as did Mr Pickering, who added: “We’re urging other competitors to follow our lead, committing to 100% British pork and supporting farmers when it matters most.”
Waitrose said the commitment ‘will not detract from our promise to provide great value for customers, and the pledge won’t affect the price of products, or our leading welfare standards’.