The retailer also revealed it would be extending its commitment to British produce by sourcing £2.5bn of UK farm products over the next three years. The Co-op said it was firmly backing the British farming community, and its multi-billion pound investment in home-grown foods was an endorsement for the quality standards of the nation’s farmers.
The Co-op’s ceo Steve Murrells also revealed the Co-op would be extending its buying season for British fruit and vegetables. It pledged to give growers long-term contracts, too.
“British farmers face a great deal of uncertainty,” said Murrells, speaking at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 20. “So now, more than ever, is a good time to show our support for them, and to show some welcome financial security.
“I’m excited to announce these pledges at our AGM, because we look to the long-term and aren’t driven by a fast profit for shareholders. We’re about making the right choices for our members and the communities we serve.”
The pledges were welcomed by National Farmers Union president Meurig Raymond. Growers and producers were more hopeful about the future after the pledge, he said.
‘Security of supply’
“I’d like to say a big thank you to the Co-op for this announcement around the commitment to British meat,” Raymond said. “The future is going to be about transparency. It’s going to be about collaboration, building relationships, security of supply and Britishness. Nothing gives confidence to British farmers more than this statement.
“When I speak to the farmers and producers that supply to the Co-op, they are looking forward with a lot more confidence. We have the uncertainty of Brexit, but the suppliers into the Co-op have built good relationships and collaboration.”
Meanwhile, earlier this month the Co-op pledged to sell only British fresh meat, after halting the sale of New Zealand lamb and Danish bacon. The commitment meant the Co-op only used British meat in all sausages, and in its own-label childrens ready meals, pies and sandwiches.
The Co-op’s 100% British commitment – at a glance
- Retailer to sell 100% British own-label frozen meat
- £2.5bn of UK farm products sourced over three years
- Buying season extended
- Growers given long-term contracts