Aldi highlights importance of backing British

Discounter supermarket chain Aldi has demonstrated its commitment to supplying British beef and lamb, following on from AHDB’s Beef & Lamb Watch Country of Origin Survey. 

The research carried out on behalf of the levy board measured the product facings in select supermarket stores for beef and lamb in June and August 2016.

“Our 100% British beef and lamb proposition underpins our long-term commitment to British farming,” commented Tony Baines, joint managing director of corporate buying at Aldi. “For over 26 years, we’ve built long-term relationships with British farmers and producers.

“We don’t believe that sourcing British should mean that our customers should pay more, and we are immensely proud to offer the best of British, at unbeatable everyday low prices.”

Budgens, The Co-operative, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons and Waitrose were all listed as supplying 100% British beef and lamb for the month of August.

Asda was revealed to be the least supportive of the major supermarkets, supplying 59% British beef (down from 61% in June), and 70% British lamb (up from 50% in June).

While Sainsbury’s supplied 93% British beef for August, 96% of its lamb shelf facings were British, up from 56% in June of this year.

Tesco provided 68% British beef for the month, which is down from 80% in June and 75% British lamb, up from 59%.

In total, 82% of the supermarket facings for beef in August were British, down 3% in June, although British lamb facings for August were 89%, up from 71%.

In repsonse to the findings, National Sheep Association (NSA) chief executive Phil Stocker said: “August is peak production time for UK lamb and it is right that supermarket shelves be stocked with this premium product. The majority of retailers were achieving 100% at this time of year but, once again, Asda and Tesco were lagging behind at 70% and 75% respectively.

“While it may be perceived as encouraging that figures from these chains are not as low as sometimes, this should be viewed in the context of difficult import conditions in recent months. The higher percentage of UK product on some supermarket shelves is a reflection of this rather than any change in sourcing policy.

“NSA praises the hard work being done by many retailers to source 100% British, particularly those who have transparent sourcing policies that support the UK sheep sector all year round. If many can do it, from budget supermarkets right through to premium ones, there is no excuse for those who don’t.”

Over the weekend, the National Farmers’ Union and National Pig Association applauded The Co-operative for announcing a move to 100% British sourcing for all its fresh bacon and lamb.

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