The supply of British pork is suffering a long-term crisis, with the “opportunistic” dealings of supermarkets cited as being partially responsible, a report warns today.
Researchers claim that the country’s big three supermarkets, Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, need to change their business models to deliver better economic and social objectives and recommends adopting a system more akin to that seen on the Continent.
Produced by the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change at the University of Manchester, it cites the fact that Britain has only 50 per cent self-sufficiency when it comes to pig meat and that the size of the national pig herd has declined by 50 per cent in the past decade.
“British supermarkets have delivered shareholder value and low prices to consumers but British pig producers and processors have lost out,” it claims.
“Supermarket buyers extracted value along the chain through flexible ‘supply agreements’ instead of contracts, playing suppliers off against one another and insisting processors pay for promotions.”
However, there is praise for Bradford-based retailer Morrisons which it said “aligns the interests of firm, supply chain and society” through directly owned processing plants.
As much as a quarter of the English pig herd is found in the region, with East Yorkshire a particularly strong area for rearing the animals.
A Bill to create a Groceries Code Adjudicator is currently making its way through Parliament.
Once approved, such a figure will be able to inspect supply networks in the UK to make sure consumers, farmers and processors are receiving a fair deal, Business Secretary Vince Cable has claimed.
A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium, which represents the supermarket industry, said: “Supermarkets are the biggest supporters of UK pig farmers and will continue to be. Over 80 per cent of the pork sold by UK supermarkets is sourced in the UK.
“Retailers have a strong interest in ensuring there is a UK pig industry able to meet demand in the future.
“Retailers recognise suppliers are facing rising costs and are responding to that, while trying to minimise the impact on customers at a time when customers’ budgets are also under pressure.”
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
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