Co-op launches Scottish bacon range

The Co-operative Scotland has introduced a new 100% Scottish Ayrshire-style bacon produced from Specially Selected Pork, available in 60 stores across the country. 

The bacon is marketed under The Co-op’s own brand – its premium Irresistible range – and is cured by hand and air-dried for up to 21 days. It will bear the Specially Selected Pork approved by the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) label.

Meanwhile, four of The Co-op’s existing Irresistible bacon products, available in 347 stores nationwide, will now be produced entirely from Specially Selected Pork. These products are: Irresistible Dry Cured Smoked Bacon, £2.79; Irresistible Dry Cured Unsmoked Bacon, £2.79; Irresistible Dry Cured Smoked Streaky Bacon, £2.79; and Irresistible Dry Cured Unsmoked Streaky Bacon, £2.79.

Twelve farms situated across North Aberdeenshire and Angus will be supplying the retailer with the pork used to produce the bacon lines. This development comes in conjunction with The Co-op’s recent commitment to switch all its fresh bacon and lamb to 100% British.
“We know that Scottish customers want to eat Scottish produce, so we’re delighted to be able to launch this new range of Ayrshire bacon which consumers can enjoy, knowing it has been made exclusively from Scottish-reared pork,” said Ben Grant, The Co-op’s chilled goods buyer.

“Being able to swap our existing bacon products to 100% Scottish pork provides further evidence of our commitment to supporting the nation’s farmers and gives shoppers another opportunity to buy home-grown products.”

Scottish SPCA area inspector Fiona McKenzie welcomed this “very positive move”, commenting that it demonstrated the extremely high standards of welfare on Scottish pig farms.

“Consumers purchasing Specially Selected Pork, labelled as approved by the Scottish SPCA, can be confident the product has been sourced from farms where the health and welfare of pigs is a top priority,” she said.

Pig farmer Patrick Stephen attended today’s launch alongside McKenzie. He added: “Scottish pig farmers are extremely proud of the Specially Selected Pork we produce which is reared, in Scotland, to standards which are second to none when it comes to animal husbandry and welfare. I look forward to other retailers seizing the opportunity to stock a brand which meets consumers’ requirements for provenance, quality assurance and taste.”

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland’s pigs committee chairman, Kevin Gilbert, who farms near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, said that this commitment provides a boost to the confidence to Scottish pig farmers. “Our Specially Selected Pork label in Scotland means that the farms from which the bacon is sourced have adopted the highest animal welfare and production practices and it is hugely positive to see the Co-op show support for these credentials,” he said.

Meanwhile, NFU Scotland’s food chains policy manager John Armour added: “NFU Scotland continues to challenge all retailers to identify ways they can support the Scottish farming sector and give their customers the chance to buy clearly labelled Scottish produce from their shelves. This announcement, as part of the Co-op’s overall plan to source 100 percent home-produced bacon and lamb from May 2017, is another positive commitment to our industry. Our wider strategy of engagement with all retailers is gaining real traction and this Co-op deal builds on other recent successes in getting more Scottish-labelled beef, lamb and pork into more and more Scottish stores.”

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