British sourcing for Sainsbury's and Waitrose

Two UK supermarkets are making claims to be the first to shift to UK-only meat sourcing for prepared foods.

Sainsbury's is claiming to be the first to shift to sourcing only British meat for its hot and cold pies, soups, party foods and ready meals, announced Justin James, category manager.

Sainsbury's said the shift would see an extra 3,100t of beef and 6,200t of chicken used. James said the move, developed in collaboration with its supply base, would also help drive carcase balance in the UK.

The change in sourcing, which takes place from January 2009, will be prominently communicated to consumers with the use of on-pack flashes. Prior to the move, James said only around 10% of the meat used in ready meals was sourced in the UK. He said: "We were getting very clear messages from consumers, they wanted the confidence of knowing where their products are coming from. And we think this gives us a very unique position in the marketplace. We've spent a lot of time getting this right. It has been a sustained long-term commitment with our supply base, and one they've invested in as well."

Meanwhile, Waitrose has also announced moves to increase its UK sourcing, with a shift to stocking only British bacon, moving forwards.

The move follows on the heels of an announcement in October that the chain would ensure all its chicken ready meals were 100% British.

The retailer claimed this meant it was the first and only UK retailer to source 100% of it's pork, chicken and beef from Britain, including all sandwiches, ready meals, cooked and fresh meat.

Paul Walker, director of chilled prepared foods said: "Since the 1930s Waitrose has led the way in championing the provenance and traceability of British meat and five years ago when we became the first supermarket to introduce 100% UK pork in our ready meals.

"The only non UK meat we use is farm assured New Zealand lamb to supplement lambs from our Welsh farmers to ensure year round availability. We also use authentic continental hams such as parma ham from Italy and iberico ham from Spain in a small number of our ready meals."