Aldi praised for driving pork sales

The National Pig Association (NPA) has praised Aldi for boosting sales of pork. 

The discounter, which sells 100% British fresh pork, reported a volume sales growth of over 10% last month.

Leg and shoulder joints sold particularly well, partly because of the English pig industry’s popular Pulled Pork adverts on peak-time television as well as a competitive pricing strategy.

The NPA said this good news came at a time when British pig farmers were suffering their second year of poor returns, caused by a European Union frozen pork mountain. Currently prices are at their lowest since 2008 and, in real terms, at their lowest since 2000. The slump, now in its second year, is caused by two Russian trade embargoes, which the NPA said were creating a glut of European Union pork, and the strength of sterling against the euro, making cheap continental imports difficult for some high street retailers to resist.

“British pig farmers are struggling with their lowest real-terms prices in 16 years, and some will have to quit this year if things don’t improve,” said NPA chairman Richard Lister, a pig farmer in North Yorkshire. “So we are particularly encouraged by this latest news from Aldi.”

He added: “The causes of these low prices are beyond our control, so we rely on retailers to help us through this difficult period by putting more British pork on their shelves, particularly in the form of convenience meals, and promoting it strongly to improve sales.”

According to NPA chief executive Dr Zoe Davies, Aldi’s support could be “pivotal in stopping the low farmgate price for British pigs plunging producers even further into the red”.

She welcomed a raft of measures taken by the discounter to increase mid-week pork sales, including moving ready-to-cook gammon-and-honey from europork to British pork, as well as increasing the pack size but holding the price at its previous level.

In January and February, Aldi also launched eight pork promotions including sausages, large packs of pork medallions, slow-cooked gammon shanks, and pork fillet with apple butter. “We know from Aldi that these promotions proved very popular with customers, so are likely to be repeated,” said Davies.

The retailer has more new products planned for the next couple of months, including porchetta belly joint, sausage casserole, pork and sweet chilli sausages and pork shanks banded with rosemary.

For Christmas 2016, it plans to add another British gammon joint to its range and has pledged all accompaniments, such as bacon-wrapped-sausages, will be sourced from British farms.

“Aldi recognises the importance of the independently-audited welfare and traceability standards that underpin the quality of British pork, and shoppers are responding by buying more,” said Lister. “It’s support like this that encourages us to struggle on until the price we receive once again covers our costs of production.”

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