Pig farmers have been sending messages of thanks to Jamie Oliver after sales of pigmeat rocketed following the TV chef’s programme on the British pig industry.
The show, which has been praised by the vast majority of the UK pig industry, showed the quality of UK pigmeat in comparison to low welfare imports from the Continent.
It also revealed the confusion over labelling after shoppers were unable to tell where pork products had been produced.
Viewed by 2m people and reported on in countless newspapers and websites, the show led to a marked consumer interest in pork, with retailer Waitrose recording a 20% rise in sales.
Sales of pork belly and shoulder joints – both championed during the show – rose by 66% and 270%, respectively.
Anna Lloyd, Waitrose pork buyer, said the increase in sales showed shoppers were happy to respond once they were aware of the reasons to buy high welfare British pork.
“It’s great that chefs such as Jamie Oliver are championing these cheaper cuts and proving that higher welfare doesn’t have to mean higher cost,” she added.
A Tesco spokeswoman said the retailer had been encouraging customers to try less well known and cheaper cuts of pork after the show.
There had been a 50% increase in shoulder joint sales, while pork belly sales had risen by 25%, she added.
While the National Pig Association said increased demand had yet led to an increase in pig prices, industry commentator Peter Crichton said interest in the show led to bacon prices fetching a 2-5p premium the day after it aired.
Barney Kay, NPA general manager, said reaction from the show had been extremely positive was a “much needed boost” for the industry.
“Increased demand, particularly for cheaper cuts, should see improved carcass balance, which should see more money passed back to producers from retailers and processors,” he said.
“The show had a strong British message, so it might not just be pork that benefits we might see an increase in British lamb and beef, too.”
Jamie Saves Our bacon
- 2m people watched the show when it was aired on Channel 4 last week (29 January)
- 4800 people have signed a pledge on Jamie Oliver’s website that they are committed to buying British pork and to seeking improvements in food labelling.
- Have your say on the programme