Farm leaders have called on supermarkets to show their support for Scottish and British pig producers by stocking more British pork on their shelves.
NFU Scotland (NFUS) has written to all major supermarkets asking them to give reassurances that British and Scottish pork will be readily available in all of their shops.
The union said its plea comes following reports that some retailers have a “very high proportion” of non-British pork on their shelves.
It said the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted how vulnerable the food supply chain was and the pig sector needed support from retailers as farmgate prices have now fallen below the cost of production – a problem made worse by cheaper supplies being sourced from Europe.
The union’s immediate past president Andrew McCornick, who retired from the role this week, said industry intelligence suggests that while some supermarkets are 100% committed to stocking home-produced pork, others – and in particular, Tesco and Asda – are falling short of what farmers and consumers would expect.
“Some retailers are to be applauded for their strong commitment to sourcing British and Scottish pork, but others must step up to the plate in these challenging times,” said Mr McCornick.
“In the case of the Co-op, all fresh pork, as well as bacon and sausages, are sourced from the UK, while Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, M&S, Lidl and Aldi are also coming across as very strong supporters of domestic production. In stark contrast, the display of pork in the Tesco and Asda stores that were examined was poor.
“Less that half of the fresh pork on sale was British or Scottish and that is a shocking statistic.
“Both these stores have a strong public commitment to source other meats from the UK – they must show the same commitment to pork.”
He said the union will be looking for a “significant improvement” in the availability of British and Scottish pork supplies in supermarkets, particularly in Tesco and Asda, in the month ahead.
“The justification for major retailers to back our farmers goes far deeper than the top shelf,” added Mr McCornick.
“With climate change remaining at the top of the agenda for the foreseeable future, sourcing local sustainable products such as Scottish or British pork will play a valuable part of the solution.”