Sausage manufacturer backs MTJ campaign

Premium sausage manufacturer Debbie & Andrew's is throwing its weight behind Meat Trade's Journal's campaign to save the British pig industry by increasing prices paid to its producers.

Premium sausage manufacturer Debbie & Andrew's is throwing its weight behind Meat Trade's Journal's campaign to save the British pig industry by increasing prices 15% above the daily average pig price (DAPP) to its producers.

Debbie & Andrew's are to pay the lion's share of the increase around 10% to pig farmers and processors the remaining 5%.

As a result the company has raised its prices from £1.89 to £2.19 a packet. "All the increase is going straight back down the supply chain. It has been a bit of risk for us putting up prices," said Andrew Keeble. co-owner of Debbie & Andrew's. "But we feel that food is too cheap in general. We tend to chuck it away as we don't value it enough. We are not saying that people should to pay a fortune for food but a fair price."

Keeble added that his company was able to back the MTJ campaign as it knew exactly where the extra money being paid was going. "We work with Bowes of Norfolk a family-owned company who offer us direct traceability."

Keeble believes that the fairtrade angle is the one that the industry should be exploiting. "In chocolate, coffee and commodities it has proved to be big market. The more the farmer gets the better he can afford to look after his pigs and that will keep him in businesss. Saving the British pig industry is what it is about. I think the MTJ campaign a fantastic thing."

The MTJ campaign was launched a fortnight ago to persuade retailers and others in the pork supply chain to raise prices paid to farmers who have been losing up to £26 on every pig they produce and close to the brink of collapse.

While retail prices have risen by 10% little of that increase is finding its way down the supply chain to producers with statistics showing that the DAPP has remained static at around £1.10/kg.

Mick Sloyan, chief executive of BPEX said: "What Debbie & Andrew's is doing a very helpful. Firstly it is a good signal as far as producers are concerned that there is support coming down from the retail industry to try to help farmers work through this problem with feed costs. Secondly, it may help to keep some farmers in business.

But he added: "We have to be very realistic that even with level of increases pig farmers are going to be making a loss because the challenge they face is not just about feed costs this year but where they will go next year."

He said BPEX had noticed that there had been some increase in retail prices amongst the major multiples but it appeared that they still wanted to hold onto the percentage margin.

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