Good to see one retailer step up to the plate

In the last issue of MTJ, I questioned whether there would ever come a time when the retailers would step up to the plate and help shoulder some of the unexpected or extra costs imposed on the supply chain.

This week, Asda has announced it is introducing a feed cost supplement to help beleaguered pig farmers. Now, I either owe an apology to the retailers (well, one of them) or my editorial comment carries far more weight than I realised. So sorry Asda!

But seriously, it's great news to see one of the retailers break ranks to put something back into the supply chain above and beyond the usual day-to-day run-of-the-mill business matters. Retailers are often derided for not doing enough and sitting back and creaming off the profits, while those lower down the chain struggle, so it's nice to be able to highlight a case that shows, contrary to popular belief, some retailers do have hearts!

However, is it enough? Asda's move, while it is to be applauded, will only be of benefit to a fraction of the supply chain and we need far greater take-up of similar projects to help boost the pig industry out of the red.

At the moment, pig farmers are losing around 7p/kg, and with processors cutting the prices paid to farmers, that situation is only going to get worse. Yes it's complicated, but hopefully there's enough intelligent people in the sector who can find a way to ensure everyone in the supply chain is making a fair return.

Meanwhile, when it comes to supply chains, we've been seeing some great models during the judging of the Meat & Poultry Processing Awards, along with plenty of other great initiatives and businesses. We've announced the finalists in this issue (page 4) and I'd like to wish all of those companies the best of luck.

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