Cornish farmer beats Tesco in British meat row

By Lorraine Mullaney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Farmer, Local food, Cornwall

The sign promised: '100% British meat from our butcher'
The sign promised: '100% British meat from our butcher'
A Cornish farmer has won a battle with Tesco over a sign in his local store promoting the sale of ‘100% British meat from our butcher’.

When Matt Watson Smyth saw the sign in the window of Padstow Tesco he complained to staff on the grounds that the meat in-store wasn’t all British and the only local butcher was at the Padstow Farm Shop, which his family runs.

Smyth told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “It’s an insult because they’re making out they’ve got an in-store butcher but we’re the only butcher in Padstow. They’re taking customers away from us.”

He said the staff looked at him “as if I were mad”.

When Smyth failed to get the response he wanted from in-store staff, he took the dispute up a gear and contacted head office.

“It took ages to get through,”​ he said. “But once I got through, they were okay. They listened to me but they didn’t say anything.”

Tesco and Trading Standards

Smyth told Tesco that unless the sign was removed, he would complain to Trading Standards.

Staff at head office told him that the sign would be removed but days went by and it remained on display, so Smyth complained again.

He eventually received a phone call from a member of staff at the Padstow Tesco store informing him that the sign would be removed.

A Tesco spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “A sign was put up in our Padstow store in error. As soon as we discovered this, the sign was changed.”

The sign has now been covered with an advert for Clubcard, which Smyth has hailed as a victory for local ​suppliers.

“The sign covered half the shopfront and it was fake,”​ said Smyth. “There’s very little British meat in there. They do have some British pork and mince but it’s not local and I’ve also seen bacon from Denmark in there.

Keep it local

“They’re trying to draw customers in by making out they’ve got an in-store butcher but they haven’t. They could talk their way out of it because a butcher could be their meat supplier but it would probably be on a massive industrial scale.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We are a proud supporter of local suppliers and our dedicated local sourcing team works to ensure our customers can choose from the best local produce from the South West – from clotted cream and cheeses to delicious Cornish fudge.”

Smyth has displayed a photograph of the sign on Padstow Farm Shop’s Facebook page with the comment: “Simply pointing out the facts. Last time I looked there was no butcher, and the meat is definitely not all British. Do they think we are stupid?”

Facebook comments from supporters include:

  • “100% meat from our butcher in ... China.”​ Jamie Hamilton
  • “Knowing Tesco, they probably think we are stupid!”​ Lucy Brenham Farley Graves
  • “Great stuff! Standing up to the giants.”​ Emily Walton
  • “Power to the people!”​ Sophie McCready

To see Padstow Farm Shop’s Facebook page, click here​.

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2 comments

Small Business Power!

Posted by drew,

I am glad Tesco did not win just because of its sheer size!

This should help to motivate every small business owner to stand up to the giants!

I agree with Peter!

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David and Goliath

Posted by Peter Crolla,

This is a fine example of the 'little guy' standing up to the corporate 'giants'.

Kudos to Matt Smyth!

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