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Latest pork price war cuts must not be taken out on producers - NPA

19th Sep 2016 / By Alistair Driver

The prices consumers pay for their meat look like they are about to get lower as the ongoing price war between some of the major UK retailers escalates.

AsdaASDA has launched a new value campaign ‘That’s Better’ which includes an average of 15 per cent price cuts on ‘every day favourites’, alongside, the retailer promises, improvements in quality across its own brand ranges.

Butcher’s Selection bacon (345g) falls from £2.30 to £2.15, while Extra Special sausages (400g) have been reduced to £2.25 or two for £4.

Morrisons has also announced it is ‘chopping meat prices’ by 12 per cent, with sausages down from £1.82 per 454g pack to £1.47, pork loin steak from £6.46/kg to £5.86/kg and a 750g gammon joint reduced from £4 to £3.28.

This is, of course, happening at a time when producer prices, driven by exchange shifts and Chinese demand, continue to creep upwards.

The SPP rose by another 1.65p to 139.89p/kg in the week ended September 10 and stands almost 9p higher than at the same point last year. It is currently at its highest level since January 2015.

Shifting retail prices do not necessarily signal a parallel shift in producer price (particularlyit seems when retail prices rise) but NPA will be keeping a close eye on the situation to ensure retailers do not look to producers to fund the discounting bonanza.

NPA view

NPA chairman Richard Lister said: "We have been heartened by the recent increase in prices being paid to pig farmers but continue to stress this is only helping producers recoup negative margins after a sustained period of low prices.

"We keep a very close on eye on what is happening in the retail world and would be extremely disappointed to see any of the fallout from this intensifying retail price war impact negatively on farmers.

"The retailers can fight as much as they like as long as they continue to source and promote British and it doesn’t negatively affect the price producers are paid.

"We were delighted with the Co-op’s announcement that it is moving to 100 per cent British bacon. Quite frankly there are other retailers out there that could do with showing some of that commitment to British pork.”

ASDA, which tends to prop up the industry Porkwatch surveys, is ‘chief among them’, he added.