Asda and Sainsbury's under fire on UK sourcing

Asda and Sainsbury’s are under fire from UK beef bosses who have accused them of a lack of support for local production. The National Beef Association (NBA) said the most recent country-of-origin survey produced by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s Meat Services (AHDB MS) team showed only 68% of fresh beef was British on Sainsbury’s shelves, while Asda stocked just 45%.


The NBA praised Budgens, the Co-op, Lidl, Morrisons, M&S and Waitrose, which the research showed were 100% dedicated to home-produced beef.

In a statement, the NBA pointed the finger of blame for Sainsbury’s and Asda’s lower performance at their Anglo-Irish Beef Processors (AIBP) suppliers.

“Less than half of the fresh beef on Asda’s shelves in August was produced within the UK and it is not a coincidence that one of its major suppliers is Irish Food Processors, which, under the AIBP banner, owns eight processing plants in the ROI, as well 15 processing and packing plants across the UK under ABP,” said NBA director Kim Haywood.

She said the ability of cross-border operators to mix and match their supplies allowed them to keep their prices lower, and added that put the retailers backing the home-grown sector at a disadvantage.

“It is important for beef farmers both in the UK and the ROI that the sales position taken by powerful Anglo-Irish traders does not continue to undermine future prime cattle prices in both countries.

“If Asda and Sainsbury’s paid more for the beef they buy from the ROI, prime cattle prices in the UK would move up too. However, the current position is that Anglo-Irish slaughterers, backed mainly by Sainsbury’s and Asda, are able to play two national markets, so they benefit at the expense of beef farmers in both countries.”

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