Asda commitment drives rise in British pork on retail shelves

A significant increase in the volume of British pork on Asda’s shelves has helped drive a rise in the amount of the product on display in UK supermarkets.

Across 11 retailers, the proportion of British pork facings increased from 77% in September to 80% in November, according to the latest AHDB Porkwatch survey.

This was up slightly from 79% in November 2020.

British bacon facings were up from 54% in September to 56%, while ham was down from 65% to 63%, and sausage from 87% to 86%.

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The overall pork figure increase comes at a time when the sector is struggling with a backlog of pigs on farm, a large volume of much cheaper EU pork available, and a dire financial situation.

In the week ending 11 December, the EU-spec standard pig price (SPP) fell again by 1.03p to 141.81p/kg deadweight.

Shifting rankings

The main reason for the much-improved fresh pork figure was a big shift in Asda’s purchasing habits – its fresh pork facings increased from 41% in September to 56% in November. This compares with 51% in November 2020 and just 39% in July 2021.

Asda’s bacon facings were also significantly up, from a recent low of 29% in September to 41% in November, while its ham facings were up from 26% to 29% and sausage facings were stable at 83%.

Asda has generally posted the lowest figures – with the exception of recent addition Iceland – in previous surveys.

The November survey puts it broadly on a par with Tesco, which saw little change from September, with fresh pork facings up from 55% to 56%, alongside minimal change in the other categories, recording 38% in bacon, 59% for ham, and 83% for sausage.

Aldi, Budgens, Co-op, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose all recorded 100% on fresh pork, with Lidl on 99% and Iceland just 22%.

Stocking a high proportion of British overall were: M&S, with 100% on bacon and sausage and 96% on ham; the Co-op at 100% British bacon, 95% on ham and 85% on sausage; and Waitrose at 97% on sausage, 93% on ham and 85% on bacon.

Aldi’s sausage facings were 100% British, with ham at 85% and bacon at 47%.

Sainsbury’s (bacon 65%, ham 92% and sausage 88%) and Morrisons (bacon 56%, ham 66% and sausage 80%) showed generally good support for British producers.

Lidl recorded 27% on bacon, down from 40% in September, 44% on ham (from 52%) and 92% on sausage (from 94%).

Iceland had just 11% for bacon, 29% for ham and 59% for sausage.

Overall, across the 11 supermarkets, Red Tractor facings were up from 50% to 54% for fresh pork, from 21% to 24% for bacon, from 17% to 18% for ham, and unchanged at 53% for sausage.

More to do

National Pig Association chief executive Zoe Davies welcomed the survey’s general trends, but said there was still more retailers could do to support struggling British pork producers.

“There is no doubt that demand for fantastic British pork remains strong,” she said.

“We continue to urge all retailers to do what they can to support producers during this crisis – whether through prioritising British pork over imports, wherever feasible, and promoting that to consumers, to working with the supply chain to ease the backlog or guaranteeing a sustainable price for pig producers, as Waitrose has done.”

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