Retailers must commit to supporting Scottish pork if the country’s pig industry is to be secured, NFU Scotland has said.
The plea comes as the industry awaits news on whether or not the Hall’s of Broxburn plant, which processes 71% of Scottish pigmeat, will close or not – a decision is due by the end of this week.
A consultation into the future of the plant, which ended yesterday, was launched in July by owners Vion who reported the plant was running at a loss of £79,000 a day.
Following on from this, NFUS said retailer support for Scottish pork was essential to maintain a pig industry in Scotland – an examination of supermarket shelves by the union found strong support for fresh Scottish and British from Morrisons and Marks and Spencer.
Although Scottish and British pork was available in Tesco, Asda and Aldi stores, the union said “significant and disappointing volumes” of fresh pork from France, Holland, Denmark and Ireland were also on the shelf.
|M&S||100% Scottish or UK|
|Morrisons||64% Scottish or UK, rest Danish or “EU”|
|Tesco||64% Scottish or UK, rest French, Dutch, Danish or “EU”|
|Sainsbury’s||46% Scottish or UK, rest Danish, Dutch or “EU”|
|Aldi||23% Scottish or UK, rest Irish or “EU”|
|* The survey was carried out in stores around Edinburgh and the Borders last week. The total percentage of product refers to the total number of rows of pork, bacon and ham.|
Meanwhile, a meeting between the union and Sainsbury’s resulted in the retailer confirming its earlier commitment to stock 100% Scottish pork across its basics and “By Sainsbury’s” ranges in Scottish stores by October.
“We believe all retailers are under no illusions about the huge issues facing the Scottish pig industry and the boost that increased commitment may give,” said NFUS food chain relationships manager Wendy Fleming.
“Last week’s census underlined that the sow herd is still falling and soaring feed prices seen this year have not been matched by an increase in general market returns.”
Some retailers had responded and made an extra payment to their dedicated supply chain, but that needed to become the norm and the price paid for all pork and pork products needed to better recognise increased feed costs, she added.
“To reassure Scottish pig producers and meet consumer expectation, all retailers should be committed to local rather than global sourcing of pigmeat. That approach will send out all the right signals to our pig farmers.”