Asda to support British pork producers

Supermarket chain Asda has revealed that it will increase its fresh pork to 80% British by next year. 

The announcement has been welcomed by British pig farmers who, according to the National Pig Association (NPA), could face losses of around £150 million in 2016, due to low prices caused by Europe’s frozen pork supplies.

Furthermore, the retail store has plans to move all its own-brand sausages to British pork by July.

“We’ll be discussing milestones over the weeks ahead,” said NPA chief executive Dr Zoe Davies. “But if Asda moves ahead at a brisk pace, it will help keep the British pig sector relatively intact at a time when real-term prices are at their lowest for 16 years.”

The industry’s bi-monthly PorkWatch survey, which measures British pork shelf facings, recognised that Asda had already started its move to replace imported pork with fresh British pork.

“We are sure that, by promoting the quality of British pork, Asda will grow pork sales across all its stores, particularly as a mid-week convenience food,” explained NPA chairman Richard Lister.

“Tangible support like this will encourage our members to stay in production until the price we receive once again recovers our costs of production.”

Presently, British pig prices are at their lowest since 2008 and, in real terms, at their lowest since 2000. The NPA recognised that the two-year slump had been caused by two Russian trade embargoes creating a build-up of European Union pork in cold stores, alongside the strength of the sterling against the euro, which make imports more attractive.

Britain is believed to have higher-welfare standards when it comes to pig rearing when compared to other countries. For example, 40% of the herd is outdoor-reared, as well as the use of sow stalls being banned in Britain, whereas other EU countries still keep sows in stalls for up to four weeks at a time.

However, only around 40% of pork and pork products consumed within Britain come from British producers.

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