Sainsbury’s carves up beef supply

Sainsbury’s has ended its sole-supplier status with leading beef processor ABP, handing 30% of its beef supply business to Northern Irish rival Dunbia.

The decision will end the nine-year deal with ABP on sole supply of beef, and Sainsbury’s said the decision was part of its 2020 strategy to increase sales of its British beef.

One industry watcher told MeatInfo.co.uk that, for ABP, losing around 240 tonnes of beef sales is “not the end of the world”, but said the significance of the loss “sole supplier status is going to hurt”. He added: “Overall, the decision is not pretty reading for ABP, following horsegate – whether this decision is linked to that or not.”

According to Sainsbury’s the move was made in line with its Corporate Responsibility targets, one of which is to double sales of British food by 2020. “Our suppliers are key to ensuring we continue to offer our customers great-quality products and to achieving our stretching 20x20 sustainability goals. From next March we will be working with an additional British beef supplier,” it said.

However, Sainsbury’s maintained ABP, which has supplied Sainsbury’s for over 30 years, would continue to be a “strategic partner”, while a spokesperson from Dunbia added: “Dunbia is delighted to be in a position to supply the retailer with the high animal welfare and quality standards they require for the beef category.”

A statement from ABP said: "ABP have been supplying beef to Sainsburys since 1968 and we are delighted to have secured a further six year contract, from Spring 2014, to be Sainsbury’s Primary beef supplier until 2020.

"ABP continues to invest in its UK beef operations and are pleased to announce this week the commencement of building work at ABP Ellesmere to establish the countries most modern abattoir facility."