Report asks is there a better way to bring home the bacon?

Report asks is there a better way to bring home the bacon?

A recent report, ‘Bringing Home The Bacon, From Trader Mentalities to Industrial Policy,’ is suggesting there may be better ways to organise the supply chain through vertical integration to ensure participants take responsibility for the overall health of the supply chain.

Produced by a team at the ESRC funded CRESC (Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change) research centre at the University of Manchester the report suggests a better way is represented by the Danish and Dutch models and also by the UK supermarket, Morrisons, which has bucked the trend by directly owning processors.

Among its recommendations are that government policies should recognise that ownership can lever changes in business practice by creating incentives and structures for new kinds of chain thinking. One of these is the suggestion that vertical integration of supermarkets with processors should be encouraged by targeted tax breaks for retailers who increased their added value.

Reaction to the report has been mixed. John Howard of The Danish Bacon & Meat Council told Meat Management: “The report recognizes the strengths of the highly integrated Danish co-operative system. Over the longer term, the Danish model has undoubtedly served its farmers well over the years. It does create a more stable and secure relationship between the primary producer and the abattoir, which has enabled the Danish industry to capitalize on market opportunities and, when necessary, rapidly adapt to changing market circumstances and weather the inevitable storms of a marketplace, which has historically received minimal support from the EU or national governments.
“It is not realistic to envisage the Danish model being adapted by the industry here on a large scale but the report correctly identifies the need for a more integrated supply chain in Britain. The necessary evolution to less fragmented and more robust structures is more likely to occur if they are market driven rather than through some of the more radical government intervention proposed by the report.”

Meat Management columnist and director of the PTF, Clare Cheney said: “I cannot identify one of the 13 recommendations that is worthy of further consideration because either they require interference by Government in running business,  doomed to failure as history has shown, or because  they require hard-pressed producers or Government to fork out more cash, which if it was forthcoming would only  throw good after bad.” Click here to read Clare’s analysis in the latest issue of Meat Management.

To download the full bacon report click here.

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