Scottish pig industry needs support
Farmer shelf watch has shown that Scottish pig prices are at an eight-year low, suggesting that major retailers must go further to support the sector.
NFU Scotland has sent its pig producers on a shelf watch in light of the poor returns to pig farmers.
The producers watched pork located in nine different supermarket chains and 20 different stores. Some reported excellent commitment from retailers, but a number made it clear that they could significantly improve their support for domestic pig farmers.
Aldi and Lidl were found to be the strongest supporter of Scottish fresh pork with the majority of the pork in these stores originating from Scotland. Marks & Spencer and Waitrose also showed strong support for the domestic pig industry, where 100% of fresh pork and bacon was British.
Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s and the Co-operative also offered strong UK displays of pork. However, producers were concerned to see that some food retailers were offering significant quantities of European pork over British and Scottish produce.
NFU Scotland Pigs Working Group chairman Kevin Gilbert, who runs a breeder/finisher pig unit in Aberdeenshire, commented after reviewing the findings: “It is evident from our examination of Scottish shop shelves that some of our biggest retailers can go much further to support our industry. Fresh Scottish Pork was hard to find in many of the Tesco and Asda stores surveyed and, disappointingly, there were significant volumes of imported meat.
“Farmers are working hard in challenging conditions and producing to the highest standards of welfare and quality. We need to see our produce valued across the supply chain. We know that consumers want to buy locally produced sustainable food and the continued co-mingling of produce makes it difficult for them to identify pork which originates here, in Scotland.
“NFU Scotland will continue to work hard to highlight the quality and provenance credentials of Scottish pork and it is great to see it being prominently displayed in Lidl and Aldi.”
A spokesperson for Asda told Meat Management: “At Asda we support the British pig industry through their Farm Assurance Scheme and are fully committed to providing a sustainable source of British pork for our customers through a long-term contract with our supplier, Cranswick.
“We have developed a programme that we’ve shared with the NPA to increase the proportion of British and Scottish pork we stock and remain firmly behind UK pig farmers. We also pride ourselves on complete traceability and transparency with all our products clearly labelled, so our customers can make an informed decision when buying their meat.”
Meat Management also approached Tesco for comment and is currently awaiting a response.