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NPA welcomes Waitrose's £16m investment in the pig price

6th May 2022 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has welcomed Waitrose's announcement of a new £16m support package to ensure its pork suppliers cover their' soaring costs of production.

Waitrose 2The retailer said the move means it will cover the full cost of rearing and producing pigs - including labour, feed, and fuel - offering its farmers financial security when others are being forced out of the sector. It stressed that the commitment 'will not detract from our promise to provide great value for customers or our pledge to always maintain our leading welfare standards'.

Waitrose’s executive director, James Bailey, said: “This investment is a direct response to some of the most challenging conditions the pig sector has ever faced. This is not only the right thing to do, it will ensure we continue to pay our farmers a fair price while maintaining our quality and high welfare standards.

"My hope is that this will enable us to keep working with them for decades to come, but we can't do it alone. This issue is industry-wide and we need the entire food industry and the British public to get behind us. If we don’t stand united in supporting UK pork farmers and act soon, many businesses will be lost.”

Waitrose sources pork from over 250 British pig farms, with all of its pork being British and outdoor bred, and this latest announcement comes on top of a commitment announced in February to support struggling producers with higher pig prices

Reaction

Waitrose's move follows an announcement by Sainsbury's that it is investing £2.8m to support pig prices, but other retailers, including Tesco, are being urged to do more.

NPA chairman Rob Mutimer said: “NPA welcomes the announcement from Waitrose and their recognition that they need to pay a fair price to their supplying farmers to ensure that they can continue to source British pork for their customers.

"British pig farmers produce pork to high standards but cannot continue to do so at such a significant financial loss. Waitrose has demonstrated their commitment and we now need other retailers to do the same before it is too late.”

The move was also welcomed by NFU president Minette Batters, who said: “Every day we’re seeing farmers leaving the sector because they simply can’t afford to keep their businesses afloat. Waitrose has acted thoughtfully and the move will inject much needed confidence for their farmers.

"We need all supermarkets to take similar action and create support packages that will genuinely come to the aid of British pig farmers in their hour of need – the rapid rise in farm costs need to be met or we risk supply into next year. I hope this move will inspire others to stand by the country’s farmers, we owe them our support.”

Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said: “I’m delighted to see Waitrose further bolstering its support for British pork farmers with this significant and important investment. Never has there been a time when it’s needed more.”