NFU Scotland has contacted all major supermarkets regarding their support for Scottish and British pig farmers after finding that some retailers have a very high proportion of non-British pork on their shelves.
The past year has shown how vulnerable the food supply chain can be and has highlighted the importance and value the public place on local, tasty, home-produced products.
Scottish pork production has faced disruption due to Covid-19 and exports have been made more challenging due to Brexit. Prices have fallen below the cost of production, exacerbated by cheaper supplies being sourced from Europe. NFU Scotland is crystal clear that both farmers and consumers deserve reassurances that British and Scottish pork will be readily available on every shop shelf.
Industry intelligence suggests that there is a significant disparity between supermarkets on their commitment to home-produced pork. While some supermarkets are 100 per cent committed to Scottish or British pork or have a strong presence of home-produced products others, particularly Tesco and Asda, are falling well short of what farmers and consumers would expect. The Union will be conducting a further supermarket shelfwatch for pork next month.
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said
Some retailers are to be applauded for their strong commitment to sourcing British and Scottish pork, but others must step up to the plate in these challenging times.
In the case of the Co-op, all fresh pork, as well as bacon and sausages are sourced from the UK, while Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, M&S, Lidl and Aldi are also coming across as very strong supporters of domestic production.
In stark contrast, the display of pork in the Tesco and Asda stores that were examined was poor. Less than half of the fresh pork on sale was British or Scottish and that is a shocking statistic. Both these stores have a strong public commitment to source other meats from the UK. They must show the same commitment to pork.
NFU Scotland has contacted all major retailers on the matter. For some major players, far greater support for Scottish and British pig farmers must be given and we will work with all retailers and other interested parties to see how domestic sourcing can be improved.
NFU Scotland will continue to monitor the volumes of Scottish and British pork on shop shelves. We will be in touch with UK processors in the next two weeks to see if orders from supermarkets have improved and we will be looking for a significant improvement in availability of home supplies, particularly in Tesco and Asda stores, in the next four weeks when we conduct our next shelfwatch.
The justification for major retailers to back our farmers goes far deeper than the shop shelf. With climate change remaining at the top of the agenda for the foreseeable future, sourcing local sustainable products such as Scottish or British pork will play a valuable part of the solution. That is something consumers want to see, and supermarkets must deliver.