Cuts of British-produced pork and lamb are being sold under Tesco’s premium Finest brand for the first time in years.
In a bid to boost sales that should also shore up farmer returns, the retailer is relaunching its top-quality range of fresh meat with double the shelf space.
And with a tenth of fresh meat sales already Finest or Organic, commercial director Steve Murrells is hoping to match last year’s growth of 50%.
Pork and lamb are the first to emerge from the makeover which will be extended to Finest beef in the summer.
Simplified cooking instructions now appear on the packaging alongside a photo of a farmer, while the meat itself comes in more traditional cuts, like pork ribeye and rack of lamb.
“Customers tell us they are increasingly concerned with provenance and quality and we hope this range will rekindle their interest in buying top quality British meat,” said Mr Murrells, although the lamb will also be sourced in New Zealand when domestic spring lamb is out of season.
“It has taken us some time to develop a range that we think meets the grade on consistent quality, but we are confident that with the focus on traditional butchery and maximum tenderness, we’ve got there.”
Farmers supplying animals for the range have been hand-picked for the consistent eating quality of their meat and have all been with the retailer for several years.
They earn a premium for supplying Finest.
With Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons also improving their premium meat ranges, Richard Lowe of the MLC said it was good news for British farmers.
“Retailers are far more likely to specify home-produced meat for these ranges and they sell at a higher retail price.
That means there should be more available for the whole supply chain in terms of market returns.”