17 September 1998
PIg farmers call off demos after Asda pledge
By FW staff
PIG farmers have cancelled a series of nationwide demonstrations outside Asda stores after the retailer pledged that its fresh pork and loose bacon sales will be exclusively British from this weekend (19-20 September).
Asda pledged to increase the level of British pork in its stores from 90% to 100%. All Asda loose bacon will now be home-produced. Fresh lamb will also be 100% British, until the winter, when New Zealand lamb will still be sourced to cover any shortfall in domestic supplies.
An ASDA spokesman said the move was not related to pressure from pig farmers. But he did recognise the plight of British producers.
“We have been working for some months to reach an end point with existing supply contracts, where we could switch to increase the level of British produce in these areas,” he said.
“We are also moving towards sourcing as much British bacon as possible in our pre-packed products.”
The spokesman also said that within three months all Asda pigmeat will be produced to UK pig production standards.
Stewart Houston, chairman of the British Pig Industry Support Group which had planned this weekends demonstrations, hailed the Asda announcement as a big step forward.
The decision meant an extra 2,000 pigs per week would now be sold through Asda stores, he said. The number of additional pigs sold be Asda could reach 5,000 if the company sourced more British bacon.