Farmers are angry because Asda has backed out of a commitment it made in October to stock only British meat.
The National Beef Association’s (NBA) chief executive, Neil Shand, described Asda’s decision as “very disappointing.”
Because of the spike in British beef costs, Asda changed its policy.
Neil Shand, the CEO of the British Beef Association told ITV News he was “massively disappointed” by the news.
Asda said it was not abandoning British beef all together but would instead be mixing it with Irish beef.
Mr Shand said: “Our members have worked very hard to support retail during the pandemic it’s disappointing at the first opportunity they’ve had to turn their back on British farmers they’ve taken it.”
“While we continue to work hard to keep pricing as low as possible for our consumers,” a spokeswoman said, “these hikes are considerable.”
According to the NBA, farmers are grappling with rising feed, fertilizer, and energy expenses at “unprecedented” rates.
“Now, more than ever, our stores need to promote domestic producers as much as possible,” Mr. Shand added.
All fresh beef in Asda’s premium Extra Special grade will be 100 percent British, sourced from farms in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
- Food companies are pleading with the government to reform the supply chain.
- Supermarkets reopen for the holidays, bringing with them a slew of new customers.
According to the Irish Examiner, beef in the Republic of Ireland is currently roughly 20% cheaper than beef in the United Kingdom. According to Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, Ireland accounted for nearly 80% of UK beef imports in 2020.
According to the British Meat Processors Association, beef accounts for roughly half of all meat imports into the UK (BMPA).
Supermarkets such as Lidl, Aldi, Morrisons, and the Co-operative have also pledged to buy 100% British beef.
“Farmers believe in long-term commitments, and so should supermarkets,” Deborah Deymond, a beef farmer with an 80-cow herd near Rattery, said in response to Asda’s decision.
“I was delighted to learn that they had made the vow in October, but I believe it is shameful that they are not doing more to support British farmers.” “You can’t have a good product for close to nothing,” she continued, “and shops should respect domestic farmers appropriately.”
Richard Findlay, head of the National Farmers Union’s (NFU) livestock board, expressed disappointment and stated that, in light of “major” changes in trade and agricultural policy, it was “more crucial than ever” for retailers to “support” British farmers.
Any sourcing agreements made by supermarkets, according to Mr. Findley, must be honored. “Our beef is known for its excellent quality and production standards, and retail support helps farmers make additional investments in climate and environmentally sustainable food production,” he said.
After being purchased by the Issa brothers, two Blackburn entrepreneurs who amassed billion-pound fortunes selling gas stations, Asda made the first announcement. It is the third-largest grocery chain in the United Kingdom.