Farmers Say Retailers Must Go Further to Support Scottish Pig Industry

SCOTLAND - UK - With Scottish pig prices at an eight-year low, some of Scotland’s major retailers must go further to support the Scottish pig sector through troubled times.
calendar icon 29 February 2016
clock icon 3 minute read

In light of the poor returns to pig farmers, NFU Scotland has sent its pig producers out on a shelf watch, looking at the fresh pork being offered in a number of large retailers in Scotland. While these results show only a snapshot of the Scottish retail sector as a whole, they do throw up concerning results.

The shelf watch on pork looked at shelves in nine different supermarket chains and 20 different stores. While there was excellent commitment from some, it is clear that other major retailers could significantly improve their support for domestic pig farmers.

Aldi and Lidl were found to be the strongest supporter of Scottish fresh pork with the vast majority of pork in these stores originating from Scotland. Strong support for the domestic pig industry was also seen in Marks and Spencer and Waitrose where 100% of fresh pork and bacon was British.

UK-only displays of pork were also evident in the Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Co-operative Food stores visited.

The biggest disappointment for producers was the discovery that Tesco and Asda were both found to be offering significant quantities of European pork over British and Scottish produce.

Those taking part in the shelf watch also noted significant product co-mingling in these stores making it difficult for consumers to identify and support domestically produced pork when located alongside imported meat.

Speaking after reviewing the findings, NFU Scotland Pigs Working Group Chairman Kevin Gilbert, who runs a breeder/finisher pig unit in Aberdeenshire, said: “It is evident from our examination of Scottish shop shelves that some of our biggest retailers can go much further to support our industry. Fresh Scottish Pork was hard to find in many of the Tesco and Asda stores surveyed and, disappointingly, there were significant volumes of imported meat.

“Farmers are working hard in challenging conditions and producing to the highest standards of welfare and quality. We need to see our produce valued across the supply chain. We know that consumers want to buy locally produced sustainable food and the continued co-mingling of produce makes it difficult for them to identify pork which originates here, in Scotland.

“NFU Scotland will continue to work hard to highlight the quality and provenance credentials of Scottish pork and it is great to see it being prominently displayed in Lidl and Aldi.

“A special emphasis must also be put on bacon. While Dutch and Danish lead the bacon offering in the majority of our retailers, the good work being done in Waitrose and Marks & Spencer shows that a stronger commitment to home-produced bacon is easily achievable.”

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