Consumers called on to save British bacon

Consumers are being urged to help secure the future of British pig producers by helping more pork and bacon find its way onto supermarket shelves.

Industry organisations including NFU Scotland, the British Pig Executive and the National Pig Association are leading campaigns to encourage consumers to buy more home-produced pork.

They want retailers to show more support to UK pig producers by offering higher prices to reflect rising costs of production, as well as committing to sell more British pork and bacon.

Pig producers are currently facing huge losses thanks to sharp rises in feed costs.

According to BPEX, English pig producers lost £27m in the final quarter of 2010 after production costs rose by 16%. Conversely, deadweight prices fell by an average 4%.

Phil Sleigh, NFUS Pigs Committee chairman, said pig producers were proud of the way they looked after their animals and they deserved a price that reflected the true costs of producing meat to such high standards.

“We need retailers to better reflect soaring feed costs in their pricing structures and at the same time to better support home-produced pigs in this difficult period,” he said.

“To that end, we are calling on the public to help ensure that more of our pork and bacon makes its way onto our supermarket shelves.”

Mr Sleigh said the Scottish pig industry had created its own banner promoting Scottish pigmeat, which had the backing of Specially Selected Pork, Red Tractor and Scottish SPCA logos.

The banners will appear on roadsides around Scotland in the coming days.

“Research by NFUS has clearly shown that in some supermarkets, support for Scottish pork and bacon could be considerably better than it currently is,” he added.

“Stocking Scottish product in favour of imports not only responds to consumer demand, but supports and recognises the higher welfare standards that producers here meet.

“We have written to major retailers regarding the need to support home produce, to address cost issues and to better recognise the higher welfare standards delivered here and we look forward to a prompt response.”

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