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Retailers importing more bacon - latest Porkwatch survey

28th Feb 2017 / By Alistair Driver

The latest Porkwatch survey shows retailers are importing considerably more bacon than a year ago, when UK producer prices were in a downward spiral.

AldibaconBut, in the context of a disappointing overall picture, some retailers, notably Aldi and Tesco recorded positive increases in British bacon. And following public criticism and lobbying from the NPA, Asda has upped its game in most categories.

Across all 10 retailers covered in the bimonthly AHDB Pork survey, there was an 11% year-on-year fall in the proportion of British bacon on the shelves. The figure for January stood at 43%, compared with 46% in the November survey.

Aldi, now the UK’s fifth biggest supermarket, recorded healthy increases in British bacon (up to 43% from 39% in November) and ham (up to 50% from 46%), as well as scoring 100% on pork and sausage

The proportion of British bacon on Tesco’s shelves rose to 41% from 34% in November, but it remains, overall, the second worst performer behind Asda.

Asda showed improvement on the November survey in three out four categories, including a healthy leap from 74% to 82% British sausage and increases, albeit from very low bases, in pork and ham.

However, with just 20% of its bacon, 31% of its ham and 43% of its pork being British, it remains bottom of the retail pile by some distance.

Morrisons recorded a big decline in British bacon, down from 55% in November to just 48% in January.

Sainsbury’s, which makes a big selling point of its ‘Britishness’, scored a very disappointing 32% on bacon, down from 35% in November and by a much bigger percentage on January 2016. Only Asda imports a higher proportion of its bacon.

Other notable results from the January survey included:

  • The overall proportion of British pork on retail shelves was down 5% year-on-year to 78%
  • Ham was down 3% on 2016 but up 3% on the November figure, at 64%
  • Sausage showed small increases in November and year-on-year to reach 83%
  • Waitrose and Marks & Spencer continue to lead the way scoring 100% or close to it in all categories
  • Lidl also scored 100% on pork and sausage, while also recording a big increase in ham (up to 40% from 31% in November)
  • Only Asda and Tesco failed to score 100% on fresh pork.
  • Despite its poor performance on bacon, Sainsbury’s scored well in the other categories to remain as the best of the ‘Big 4’ when it comes to sourcing British
  • The Co-op appears to have some distance to travel to reach its pledge of 100% British bacon by May 2017 – in January, its bacon figure fell back slightly to 72%.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies: “The overall picture is mixed and the bacon results, in particular, are disappointing.  

“But it is encouraging to see some retailers upping their game. Aldi continues to make good progress in supporting British farmers, particularly on bacon, which raises the question: If they can do it, why can’t others?

“It is very disappointing to see some retailers, notably Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, importing more bacon.

“Asda has shown welcome improvement, after we raised our concerns with them in the strongest possible terms after the previous survey.

“But they have still got a long way to go – using imported bacon for four out every five packs sold in its stores is not good enough