Buy British plea to supermarkets

A CAMPAIGN has been launched for national supermarket brands to support British meat producers amid the predicted wheat price hikes.

The campaign, launched by deliciouslyorkshire, has attracted the support of Yorkshire farmers including Howden based award winning pig producer Anna Longthorp.

Experts are predicting that the current shortage of wheat is expected to lead to a huge hike in prices during 2011, causing problems for British Farmers who use wheat-based grain to feed their animals.

According to Anna, a deliciouslyorkshire member and owner of award-winning pork business Happy Trotters, there is a danger that British meat producers could suffer irreparably as consumers choose cheaper imported meat instead.

“Being free range we’re more exposed to weather conditions and pigs need to eat more to keep warm and therefore need to eat more to grow,” she said.

Ultimately, the price hikes felt by the farmers will be passed on to the consumer, as the price of British meat in supermarkets will soar.

Some Yorkshire farmers are concerned that this could lead to the disappearance of British meat in certain supermarkets, as cheaper imported meats are favoured.

Jonathan Knight, chief executive of deliciouslyorkshire, said: “We need to support British meat producers at this difficult time. It is important to remember that British pork is not only of a higher quality but it also meets strict welfare standards, which imported meat does not.”

British Pig Executive Boss Mick Sloyan added: “The UK pig industry had been operating at a disadvantage in recent years owing to the disparity between welfare standards in the UK and Continental Europe.”

Anna Longthorp’s products are sold across the region to butchers and restaurants, but she is also lucky to supply to Waitrose who sells her meat under its own brand label.

This contract is beneficial as Waitrose take into account costs to farmers before pricing, allowing Anna to make a small profit. However, as she explains, other farmers are not so lucky.

“There will be an awful lot of farmers out there who will be producing at a loss at this point in time, with costs higher than other supermarkets are willing to pay,” she said.

In order to support British Farmers consumers should look for the red tractor on produce in supermarkets which confirms it is British.

If demand for home-produced meat increases supermarkets will be willing to pay more to support our local farmers at this important time.

lWhat do you think? Share your views on this issue with Farming Focus readers by getting in touch with Sara Morton on tel (01377) 249818 or email Sara.Morton@yrnltd.co.uk