17 November 1995

FUTURE OF PORK IS SET FAIR, BUT…

PORK products have a big future in the UK, but pricing mechanisms and links between producers, processors and retailers need to be reviewed.

So says Stan Burns, Tescos pigmeat buyer. "Meat is still one of the main factors governing where consumers choose to shop. If the meat products are not consistently good the consumer will go elsewhere. So it is a sector that we cannot overlook," says Mr Burns.

"Greater consistency is needed in product quality and its supply and future marketing must extend to improving supply.

"There has to be a better way to set pigmeat prices than the weekly Average All Pigs Price method that the industry is faced with at the moment, which peaks and troughs causing corresponding peaks and troughs in supply.

"This is detrimental to the entire chain from producer to retailer where, depending on whether supply is up or down, one of the three links in the chain – producer, processor or retailer – lose out.

"In future, retailers, processors and producers must form stronger links, move away from short-term contracts and make longer term commitments to even out supply," says Mr Burns.

"Our commitment is to support the British pig industry and, after the stalls and tethers ban is enforced, we will not buy pigmeat from sources that do not comply with UK law.

We also want to see a better flow of information up the chain, from consumer right back to the producer, in order to aid management decisions.

"Farm assurance will grow in importance as the consumer will want to buy humanely produced meat with confidence in the product. But it must be promoted under a single standard across the retail sector because the consumer is faced with an increasing number of welfare and quality standards," he says.

The product itself must be tailored to meet the customers requirements, he adds.

"We must deliver a more convenient, more consistent product. New product development is the way forward.

"Pork lends itself well to new development because it is a good flavour carrier for barbecue, basted or marinated products. With the growth in single person house-holds small half pound roasts will be required because there is less waste. &#42