Meat imports into the UK have doubled* over the last 20 years. More than £5bn worth of meat is now shipped from European Union member states while Asia and Oceania countries account for £804m worth of imports followed by Latin America at £345m.
We already only sell British beef, chicken, ham, pork, sausages, duck and turkey and only use British meat in all our own-label chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches. From today, our stores will provide only 100% fresh British bacon and lamb – dropping Danish bacon and New Zealand lamb. The only exception will continue to be with our cured and continental fresh meats e.g. Chorizo, including where these are in our ready meals and sandwiches.
“Only the Co-op offers 100% British fresh meat all year round…”
Jo Whitfield, our Co-op Food Interim Chief Executive, said:
“British consumers will be shocked to see how meat imports have grown while at the same time retailers hang out the bunting and claim to back British farmers. Only the Co-op offers 100% British fresh meat all year round and not just in the meat cabinet but also in our sandwiches, our pies and our ready meals.”
“We can do this because we’re owned by members not shareholders and can invest long-term in what matters to communities, not what provides the fastest shareholder return. I’m calling on other retailers and food providers to do more to help our farmers, particularly as they head towards uncertain times.”
We’ll show how our commitment to British makes a difference in communities across the UK through our summer marketing campaign, launching this week.
For customers this means that not only is the food on their plates delicious and great quality, but it supports British farmers and their communities.
Our bold campaign begins with print advertising in national newspapers this week before our new TV campaign airs on 24 May. Point of Sale will be up in our stores from 24 May and we can expect lots of exciting activities planned throughout summer to raise awareness of our food and support for British producers.
Our Customer Director for Food, Jemima Bird, says:
“We are proud that Co-op offers 100% British fresh meat all year round, the only major British retailer to do so and the support we provide to British Farmers is important to us, so want to communicate this clearly and loudly to all our customers and members through bold and simple messages. This week sees the start of the campaign and I’m excited for the full launch in a couple of weeks.”
*Source UK Customs import data https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/