Pig protest prompts Tesco to buy British

The supermarket giant Tesco has upped the amount of British pork it sells on its shelves following discussions with protestors, Meat Trades Journal (MTJ) can reveal.

The conciliatory move has been cautiously welcomed by campaigners, who held a rally in Westminster to highlight the plight of pig producers at the start of the month.

The initiative to increase British pork on offer at Tesco comes after it was revealed that the major retailers had increased the amount of cheap pork that they were importing from abroad.

Recent figures from Porkwatch — the in-store audit of pork and pork products — showed that the amount of British pork on-shelf in January fell to its lowest share in a year and represents only 77% of the fixture. In March last year, it stood at 83%.

However, despite the intensive fight, producers are still losing £21 per pig and Barney Kay of the National Pig Association warned there had been no movement on the pricing issue.

He said: “Tesco have done what they can – and they are to be commended for that. But it is basically the work of a buyer – he has chosen to buy more British.

“What is absolutely key is that producers get paid a fair share for their produce. This increase in volume, while welcomed, is only at previously agreed prices.”

Kay said MPs had been writing to the major retailers about the price problem following on from the Westminster rally and he added: “Producers are getting desperate now. Something has to be done.”
Dr Daniel Poulter, the Conservative MP for Central Suffolk, and North Ipswich also raised the issue in the House of Commons last week.

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