Asda commits to British meat

Asda has reaffirmed its commitment to British agriculture by confirming plans to expand British sourcing of its fresh meat.

The supermarket's demand for British beef is set to exceed 250,000 head of cattle this year- an increase of almost 25% since 2005- and it is predicting that this demand will rise by a further 12% by 2008.

At a recent series of presentations to UK beef farmers, senior meat buyer Jim Viggars outlined the company's intentions to extend its 'Buy British' policy and source all of its premium Extra Special beef on a regional basis.

"When the new strategy is fully implemented, our premium Extra Special beef range will be matured for 28 days and sourced on the basis of British for the English stores, Welsh for the Wales stores and Scottish for Scottish stores," said Viggars.

Asda also has plans to reconnect with its Yorkshire roots by trialling Yorkshire beef in its Yorkshire stores.

Farmers are a key part of the company's strategy. "British Beef is amongst the best in the world. Our customers know it and continue to tell us that they want more British product - and we always listen to our customers," said Viggars.

"Our plans involve consulting closely with our producers, both current and potential, to ensure we can deliver the quantity of British beef we need, at the quality our customers are looking for.

"As part of our plans, we are looking at several ways to help farmers help us. These will include the formation of Beef Link (a series of special initiatives for our producers), direct support to the industry, and championing the British Farmer in our consumer marketing. Our goal is to make Asda the supermarket of choice for UK beef farmers."

Asda is also predicting a 50% increase in organic beef sales - from 1700 to 2800 head of cattle - over the same 2005-2008 period. "The aim is for our organic range to become 100% British sourced as soon as the home industry can meet the demand," said Viggars.