Buying British beef again…

30 October 1998

Buying British beef again…

MORE good news for farming this week with the Ministry of Defences decision to source 100% British beef, and Sainsburys and Tescos announcement that they will sell cuts of meat from small British hill lambs through the winter.

Asda, which last week ditched a £2.5m order for New Zealand lamb, has also announced long-term price cuts on fresh British lamb in a bid to encourage sales.

Sainsburys estimates that its move will create a market for about 1000 extra lambs a week. The retailer said the decision centred on the need to help British sheep farmers, who had been particularly hard hit by the diminishing Continental market for smaller lambs and the strength of sterling.

Tesco, too, will source another 1000 light lambs a week. And, in a separate on-off move, the firm is also buying 150t of British lamb under the Aids to Private Storage Scheme to add to its frozen lamb range next year.

"Tesco has a long-term commitment to support British livestock production. We have worked hard to explore what additional help Tesco was able to give sheep farmers during the current crisis," said meat manager, Steve Murrells.

The NFU has applauded all the moves, especially the creation of another market for smaller British lambs, which, it said, would be a boost for hill farmers.

The Ministry of Defences decision to source 100% British beef was also hailed by the union as a huge vote of support for British farmers.

Booker Food Services, the MoDs contractor, is expected to buy nearly 1,000t of primal cuts and more than 800t of mince and diced beef over the next 12 months.

"This is fantastic news for our hard-pressed beef farmers, who have been struggling under the British beef export ban and the farm incomes crisis. The months of hard work to reach this announcement have finally paid off. We will now continue to work closely with the MoD to deliver a positive result on the sourcing of British lamb," said NFU president, Ben Gill.

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