Thank you Budgens, Co-op, Asda and Morrisons, says NPA

by 5m Editor
18 October 2004, at 12:00am

UK - PorkWatch chairman Richard Lister has praised Budgens for its one hundred percent British pork policy. "We continue to be very encouraged by your commitment to British product," he says in a letter to the company, following the publication last week of PorkWatch's survey results for September.


National Pig Association

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & Whitehall, and with processors, supermarkets & caterers - fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

He has also written to the Co-op, to commend it for its strong use of the British Quality Standard Mark. And in a letter to Asda he says, "We are encouraged that your use of the Mark on fresh pork continues to grow and is above the industry average." He has told Iceland he is pleased with its positive progress in using the Mark on fresh pork and bacon.

In contrast, he will be telling Sir Terry Leahy at Tesco of his disappointment at seeing Tesco's use of the Mark on fresh pork continuing to decline and its use of the Mark on ham continuing "quite poor".

He will tell the Tesco chief that as Tesco is the country's leading retailer, the British pig industry looks to it to lead the way in the use of the Quality Standard Mark, and in support for the British industry.

Richard Lister said today: "I am particularly concerned that Tesco's use of the Mark arises from an increased use and significant promotion of imported product in key volumes lines such as boneless loins. Reports from PorkWatch auditors suggest this policy is leading to increased volumes of imported pork being sold by Tesco."

Richard Lister will also be telling Sainsbury's of his disappointment at seeing a "significant drop" in the amount of British Quality Standard Mark pork it has on display and the continued decline in its use of the Mark on bacon. "Sainsbury's does still perform above average in its use of the Mark but it is no longer looking like of the British pig industry's most loyal supporters," he said.

In his letter to Budgens, he will urge the company to get the Mark on more of its one hundred percent British fresh pork. He will be making a similar plea to Sir Ken Morrison. "I commend Morrisons for being one hundred percent fresh British pork," he said, "and I would like to persuade them to do even better for the pig sector by getting the Mark on more of its pork and on more of its prepacked bacon."

According to September's PorkWatch survey, English supermarkets have been cutting back on the amount of space they give on their shelves to fresh British pork. Of the big three, Asda has improved its performance but Tesco and Sainsbury have dropped back - Tesco by seven percent and Sainsbury by twelve percent.

"It is disappointing news for shoppers, who have made it clear they want honestly-labeled fresh British pork rather than imported pork which invariably is not as fresh and is of poorer quality," said Richard Lister, who produces pigs in Yorkshire.

The PorkWatch survey is carried out by English pig farmers, to provide shoppers with an up-to-date guide to which supermarkets are supporting fresh home-produced pork. Meat labeling is a minefield of misleading information, so the farmers who check out around 300 stores every other month accept only the independently-audited British Quality Standard Mark as proof that pork is genuinely British, and not imported meat masquerading as British.

"Competition between supermarkets intensified this summer and supermarkets piled their shelves with cheap imported pork, whilst many British pig farmers found there were no buyers for their higher-quality home-produced pork," said Richard Lister. "It is an indication of just how powerful the supermarkets have become that in their quest for more market share some feel they can ignore the wishes of their customers."

M&S and Waitrose are not included in the published PorkWatch results because although they sell mostly British fresh pork, they do not use the Quality Standard Mark.

Source: National Pig Association - 17th October 2004

5m Editor