Time to support British meat

Nicholas RobinsonIt still shocks me that the majority of the meat served in pubs is just not British, despite the pub being a bastion of Britishness.

Headlines I’ve written over the past few months have ranged from suggestions that British pork could disappear from pub menus, to diners trusting supermarket meat more than restaurant meat.

Every now and then, though, we do hear feeble calls from the meat industry and other representatives urging the pub trade to get behind British meat. But these calls are too weak.

One that stuck in my mind was from the managing director of Aubrey Allen butchers, Russell Allen, who spoke to 300 pub industry leaders about this issue last year. Allen pointed out that around 50% of the pork used by the UK foodservice sector was imported, as was roughly half the bacon.

Over 80% of the steaks used in the foodservice sector come from countries such as Botswana, Ukraine and Brazil, he claimed.

What’s going on? I know the high-end gastropubs, such as those on the UK’s Top 50 Gastropubs list, are likely to buy British, but what about the others?

My main suspicion is that those who don’t buy British aren’t asking where their meat comes from – they don’t have a relationship with their local butcher or they just don’t know it’s an issue.

Come on, tell us how we can do it better… after all, there might be a free pint in it for you and I can stop being shocked

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