Asda called on to support British producers

Following on from a recent beef and lamb country-of-origin survey, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has called on Asda to improve its commitment to supplying British red meat. 

The research, produced on behalf of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board, analysed the beef and lamb facings for 10 UK supermarkets in the month of August. With only 59% of its beef facings originating from Britain, and 70% of its lamb being British, Asda performed the worst in terms of commitment.

It should be noted that despite its low level of sourcing of British lamb, this is still 20% up from it facings for the month of June.

“We would like to see more from Asda for them to improve their sourcing [of lamb],” a spokesperson from the NFU told Meat Trades Journal. “They’ve made some quite strong progress in terms of their premium British lamb, but that obviously doesn’t seem to be cascading throughout the whole of the lamb offering, so we would like to see that improve.”

A spokesperson from Asda responded to the survey by explaining that the supermarket only supplies from overseas to meet consumer demand. “At Asda we are committed to sourcing British products first and only stock beef and lamb from elsewhere to ensure availability for our customers.

“We pride ourselves on complete traceability and transparency, with all our products clearly labelled, so our customers make an informed decision when buying their meat.”

Although the NFU said they would encourage Asda to back British producers more, it did admit that it was encouraged by progress from other supermarkets. Tesco’s support for British lamb was up 28% compared to August 2015, and The Co-operative recently committed to sourcing 100% British bacon and lamb products.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the investment that has been put in there in terms of The Co-operative and Tesco,” commented the union. “They have been significant and we should recognise that.

“We would like to see a long-term commitment, particularly in the face of Brexit. Now, more than ever, it’s important that retailers stand by the agriculture sector so they have security and supplies for the future.”

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