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Co-op Raises Initiative to Support UK Farmers

by 5m Editor
26 January 2009, at 6:58am

UK - The Co-operative Group is converting its entire range of own-brand bacon, gammon and fresh pork to British in an initiative to support British farmers and to raise animal welfare standards.

The Co-operative, the United Kingdom's largest convenience retailer, has signed up some 300 British pig farms to make the move from Danish to British bacon.

The initiative means all pigs for the Co-operative’s own-brand bacon will be reared as a minimum to the Red Tractor/Quality Standard Mark standards — the most robust assurance scheme in Europe.


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"It's great to see the Co-operative making such a strong commitment to home-produced pork and pork products. We would encourage other supermarkets which haven't quite reached the same level to follow suit."
Stewart Houston, BPEX chairman

The move on bacon, which will be completed by 2 February, is particularly significant because it accounts for 54 per cent of all sales in the retailer’s £87 million bacon and pork category.

Own-brand gammon will be switched to British at the same time, and the consumer-owned retailer has also secured enough additional supplies to convert all its own-brand pre-packed hams (excluding continental hams) to British pork by the end of March. All the Co-operative brand fresh pork and sausages are already from British-reared pigs.

At the same time, the retailer is planning to introduce higher-welfare criteria to all its own-brand standard fresh pork by autumn, when all the pork will be from pigs reared within the United Kingdom to the Co-operative’s own higher-welfare Elmwood specification.

This follows the recent move to using only outdoor-reared Freedom Food-accredited Hampshire pork in the Co-operative’s premium Truly Irresistible range of fresh pork, bacon and sausages.

The move has been welcomed by BPEX chairman Stewart Houston, who said: "It's great to see the Co-operative making such a strong commitment to home-produced pork and pork products. Consumers are keen to back quality home-produced pork and pork products, and we would encourage other supermarkets which haven't quite reached the same level to follow suit."