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Supermarket pledges support to British Farmers

by 5m Editor
24 April 2003, at 12:00am

UK - A Leading Supermarket says it is set to demonstrate its support for British farmers by launching a 'Buy British' campaign at its annual farming conference in Leeds, today.

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The ASDA campaign, under the banner: "Good, Honest Value - Celebrating Home-grown Produce", will actively promote ASDA's full range of British meat, produce and dairy products throughout its chain of 259 stores with the aim of increasing sales for its farmer suppliers, whilst educating customers about where their food comes from.

The supermarket's move follows a recent survey by the NFU that highlighted that most consumers have lost touch with rural Britain. Dr Chris Brown, ASDA's head of agriculture told delegates: "Customers tell us that they prefer to buy British produce wherever possible. But many don’t realise that 90 per cent of the food we sell is actually sourced from within Britain*.

"That is why we are committed to educating customers about where their food comes from in the first place, whilst continuing to work with our farming partners to increase the amount and range of British produce we sell in our stores."

As part of the ASDA 'Buy British' campaign, the supermarket is:

  • Launching 60 ‘new’ British products in 2003 including: English stilton with champagne and strawberries, pork steaks with Thai butter etc
  • Extending the British produce-growing season, reducing foreign imports. This year ASDA will extend the carrot season to 50 weeks, and the new potato season by an extra 10 weeks
  • Adopting a new open, honest labeling policy that will result in all of its products being re-labeled during 2003. This will ensure that the country of origin is always clearly marked, references to 'product of EU' will be removed and replaced with the country of origin clarifying exactly where the primal product is from e.g. bacon that contains French pork will be clearly labeled
  • Investing 31.3 million in new product development, in-store promotions and new labeling
  • Highlighting Scottish / Welsh products in all its stores in Scotland and Wales
  • Launching a 12-week promotional / sampling programme in all its stores highlighting different products from the meat, produce and chilled areas each week. The aim is to encourage customers to try new British products
  • Rolling out its local sourcing initiative that has already seen more than 800 local products reach its chain of stores since 2002 through its Best of the Lakes, Best of Wales, Best of Cornwall and the West Country and Scotland's Best ranges.
Chris added: "We have worked closely with farmers and their representatives in the last few months to address some of their concerns about labelling and the promotion of British produce. By working in partnership we have been able to devise a new open and honest labelling policy that clearly highlights the country of origin. We have also pledged to promote the 'Buy British' message in all our stores to encourage our customers to support home-grown produce."

President of the NFU, Ben Gill said: "It is now much easier for ASDA customers to identify which products are home-grown and therefore easier for them to actively support British farmers. By doing so, they know they will be getting good, honest value for their money. This is an important step forward and gives the lead for all to follow."

At last year's farming conference ASDA launched its agricultural mission and pledges. The mission and pledges are a continuation of ASDA's heritage and values, which date back to when it was first formed by a group of farmers in Yorkshire. Chris Brown explained:

"The pledges affirm our sourcing policy of buying British wherever possible. They demonstrate that our support for farmers is steadfast, for example 100 per cent of our fresh chicken and turkey is British, 95 per cent of our fresh lamb is British, nearly 90 per cent of our fresh pork is British, and 80 per cent of our fresh beef is British."

Source: ASDA Supermarkets - 24th April 2003

5m Editor