Convenience retailer Co-op to sell British-only fresh meat


Convenience retailer Co-op has announced its plan to sell British-only fresh meat at its stores, as it intends to boost sales during the Brexit period.

The country has seen meat imports grow by double over the last two decades, according to the retailer's new research.

Since 1996, meat imported from the EU and other countries has increased from £3bn to £6.2bn.

EU member states ship more than £5bn worth of meat, followed by Asia and Oceania countries with £804m worth of imports, and Latin America at £345m.

Asian and Oceanic imports have almost trebled from £304m in 1996.

In a move to support local producers, the retailer stated that it will sell only 100% fresh British bacon and lamb, as well as drop Danish bacon and New Zealand lamb.

Denmark exports £550m worth of meat into UK, comprising one tenth of all meat imports, while New Zealand exports £291m worth of lamb to the UK.

"I call on other retailers and food providers to do more to help our farmers, particularly as they head towards uncertain times.”

The retailer already sells only British beef, chicken, ham, pork, sausages, duck and turkey, as well as uses only British meat in all its own-label chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches.

Co-op retail chief executive Jo Whitfield said: “British consumers will be shocked to see how meat imports have grown while at the same time retailers hang out the bunting and claim to back British farmers. Only the Co-op offers 100% British fresh meat all year round and not just in the meat cabinet but also in our sandwiches, our pies and our ready meals.

“We can do this because we’re owned by members not shareholders and can invest long-term in what matters to communities, not what provides the fastest shareholder return. I call on other retailers and food providers to do more to help our farmers, particularly as they head towards uncertain times.”

Co-op has launched a £10m campaign to focus on the benefits of sourcing from British local farmers.


Image: Co-Op Tilehurst, run by the Co-operative Group. Photo: courtesy of Kaihsu Tai via Wikipedia.