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Pigs will become more like the wine business, predicts food pundit

21st Aug 2016 / By Digby Scott

"And so another part of Britain's pig-rearing tradition goes," reports broadcaster and food critic Jay Rayner in a five-page spread in today's Observer Food Monthly magazine.

He's referring to a decision by Yorkshire producer Tim Chapman to quit pigs after 36 year, "because in this industry all the risk goes on the farmer".

Having interviewed producers Anna Longthorp and David Owers, along with marketeer and auctioneer Peter Crichton, and Mick Sloyan of AHDB Pork, Rayner predicts increased polarisation ahead.

"In the long term, the pig industry will probably become more like the wine business. At one end will be high-welfare, low-intensity premium product, flogged to those whose interest in the way the animals they eat are cared for is matched only by the depths of their pockets.

"The rest of the industry will be buffeted by the cold winds of the international markets," he says.

"Mainstream consumers may claim an interest in welfare. They may say they want the best. But all too often it comes down to simple pounds and pence. At which point it's the pigs that suffer."

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