Pig body joins NFU in ‘Back British’ campaign

British pork will be at more risk if British pig farmers are not given enough support from consumers and supermarkets.

National Pig Association (NPA) general secretary Zoe Davies revealed that around 60% of the pork eaten in the UK, including bacon and sausages, is imported. As a result the NPA is supporting the National Farmers’ Union’s (NFU) recently launched ‘Back British Farming Charter’.

The charter calls for shoppers, food companies and politicians to help stop the decline in the UK’s self-sufficiency in food.

“With a bit of encouragement, our pig farmers could be persuaded to gently step up production and the whole country will benefit as a result,” Davies said.

According to the NPA, British pig farmers have a lot to offer their customers in the quality of their product, traceability and animal welfare.

What consumers want

Meanwhile, a recent consumer survey also showed that 78% of British shoppers wanted supermarkets to stock more British food. This, said Davies, means “we need to look closer to home. Right across the board farmers have a fantastic natural capacity to produce more British food, given the right market signals and the confidence to invest.”

Yet supermarkets, like Sainsbury’s, already have plans in place to support British farmers. A spokesperson from Sainsbury’s said: “As part of our 20x20 commitments, we are always looking for ways we can source more ingredients from here in the UK and our move to 100% fresh British Pork last month enforced that commitment.”

As a result, the spokesperson said, Sainsbury’s had increased the number of British pigs it purchases by 70%.

However, it added: “Our bacon continues to be British, Danish or Dutch. Due to our scale and considerable share of the UK bacon market it is simply not possible for us to source entirely from Britain.”

NFU asks to back British

Waitrose director of agriculture Heather Jenkins, meanwhile, commended the NFU for championing British food and shorter supply chains. She highlighted that all of Waitrose’s fresh meat was British and said the supermarket sold British lamb year-round.

On Wednesday this week the NFU said the UK produces just 62% of its own food, which meant food would have run out on 14 August if we had to rely on our own food products to survive from 1 January this year.

NFU president Peter Kendall was concerned and said: “To think that today’s date would signal the time when our domestic food supply runs out is frankly alarming. It says to me that we must act.”