Tesco slammed for not buying enough British beef

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Beef

‘Could do more’, was the NFU’s assessment, one year on, of Tesco’s pledge to bring meat home
‘Could do more’, was the NFU’s assessment, one year on, of Tesco’s pledge to bring meat home
Britain’s biggest retailer is not doing enough to support UK farming by honouring its pledge to buy more British meat – particularly fresh beef, says the National Farmers Union (NFU).

In a document entitled RetailerReport Cards 2014​, released at the NFU’s annual general meeting this week, the union graded supermarkets according to their purchases of British produce. It highlighted seven areas where it said the retail giant could improve its support for British beef.

The first recommendation was: “Increase British sourcing of fresh beef to 100%, in line with commitments to bring food closer to home. Year-on-year data for November 2013 versus November 2012 indicates a 7.9% fall in fresh British beef.”

7.9% fall in fresh British beef

Tesco should also boost its sourcing of British lamb in season to 100% “with an aspiration to extend commercial sourcing further”.

An NFU spokesman acknowledged the progress the retailer had made in some areas – such as buying 100% British chicken – but added that falling fresh meat purchases had "raised quizical eyebrows, after Philip Clarke's ​[Tesco ceo’s] pledge to bring meat home​ at last year’s agm".

Meanwhile, retailers should listen to their customers and buy more British food, said former NFU President Peter Kendall last week, after research commissioned by the union revealed shoppers’ preference for British food.

“The YouGov survey shows 79% of British people think British supermarkets should sell more food produced on British farms,”​ said Kendall. “I’m constantly told by some supermarkets that their sourcing policies are determined by what their customers want. This survey shows very clearly that consumers want more British food, so I hope they will take this on board and act on it.”

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