Tesco to source more meat from the UK

Tesco has vowed to source more of its meat products from the UK and improve relationships with farmers and producers as it looks to improve confidence in its supply chain in the wake of the ongoing horse meat scandal.

Tesco to source more meat from the UK.

The supermarket will now source all its chicken from British farmers.

In his latest video blog, Tesco CEO Philip Clarke, says the supermarket will bring meat production “closer to home” and work with the National Farmers Union (NFU) to build longer, closer direct relationships with farmers and producers in the UK.

He says: “I’m talking about longer relationship directly with producers and farmers to make sure the meat processing industry can deliver the products its says it can deliver to the plates of consumers.”

“I’m setting out what we found, what we believe the cause is and what were doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and then forging a strategy for the future which sees meat production coming closer to the UK and Ireland and seeing longer relationships with farmers.”

Tesco’s announcement comes as a OnePoll survey commission by the NFU today (27 February) reveals more than 86 per cent of shoppers are as likely or more likely to want to buy more traceable food that has been produced on British farms following the horse meat revelations. A further 78 per cent agree or strongly agree that supermarkets should sell more food from British farms.

Clarke is giving his first interviews to the press today and is due to deliver a speech at the annual NFU conference.

NFU President Peter Kendall says: “Farmers have been furious about what has happened. They have spent many years working to ensure the British supply chain is fully traceable from farm to pack and building strong principles which are embodied in assurance schemes like Red Tractor. For me this is fundamental for consumer confidence.

“But more than that, I want to see retailers working on re-building consumer trust, improving transparency and so partnership with farmers and the rest of the supply chain is critical.”

Rival Morrisons has focused its marketing on highlighting it is already closer to the meat supply chain than its rivals because it sources direct from farmers and is the only UK supermarket to own its own abattoirs and integrate food preparation. It is the only supermarket to offer 100 per cent British fresh beef, pork, lamb and poultry.

As a result, Morrisons’ brand has benefited from the ongoing horse meat crisis. Its Buzz score, which is a measure of the positive and negative things consumers have heard about a brand, increased to 17.6 today, up from 1.4 in mid-January before the scandal broke, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex. Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s meanwhile have all seen their Buzz scores fall

Meanwhile, The Co-operative Group has said it will review its meat supply chain and put in place a more transparent process to track the provenance of its food products. The Group will also step up testing across all food products to ensure “ongoing scrutiny”.

In an email sent to all Co-op members, group CEO Peter Marks says: “We are far from complacent about a matter which has so clearly shaken customer confidence in the food you eat. Let me repeat the sincere apology I made to our customers and members last week and assure you that we will do all we can to reinforce the integrity of our products and the trust that we have spent generations building up.”

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