Food

British pork could vanish from pub menus

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

British pork could be a thing of the past unless imports are reduced
British pork could be a thing of the past unless imports are reduced

Related tags: United kingdom

Home-grown pork could disappear from UK pub menus if the trade, as well as the wider food sector, doesn’t stop buying imports, pig big wigs have warned.

Many operators were buying imported pork, possibly unknowingly, because it was cheaper than British, according to delegates at a round-table debate about UK pork last week.

Russell Allen, managing director of meat supplier Aubrey Allen, previously estimated that 50% of the pork used by the UK’s foodservice sector was imported.

Such a figure was worrying, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s strategy director for pork Mick Sloyan told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser (PMA). “If it doesn’t change then we will lose the producers and we will get more imports,” he said.

“British pork is better quality [than imports] and there are better standards of welfare used in the British pig industry than in other countries.”

Superior welfare standards

Britain’s superior welfare standards play a part in the higher price of the end product, he added. While the price was higher than imported pork, it was only marginally so — around 5p/kilo — and came with many benefits.

More than 45% of UK pork is reared outdoors, sows aren’t kept in confined stalls and the product is more easily traced than imports, according to producer Rick Buckle.

Why buy British?

“British pork is better quality [than imports] and there are better standards of welfare used in the British pig industry than in other countries.”

  • Source: ​Sloyan

Chief executive of the National Pig Association, Zoe Davis, said: “If you compare standard British pork with standard imported pork, there’s a colossal difference [in quality]. In addition it comes from shorter, and more organised, supply chains.”

Buying British pork also has environmental and social benefits, the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Tom Tanner told the PMA.

“These should be considered when weighing up the sustainability benefits of sourcing British meat and produce,” said Tanner.

‘Other countries’

“There are no universal welfare standards but buying British can offer well-recognised higher welfare standards, although it is difficult to compare standards like-for-like when looking at meat production in other countries.”

Using British suppliers not only supports local farmers, but supply chains, which are important as transport has a significant impact on an operator’s environmental footprint, he added.

“Pubs also have a role in connecting their customers with where their food comes from and how it has been produced. Creating a narrative around the British and local producers are other benefits for businesses.”

Research conducted by Harden’s last year showed consumers valued an eatery’s sustainability achievements more than a 10% discount on the bill, added Tanner. And more than half think animal welfare is important when eating out.

The round table was hosted by trade magazine Pig World in association with the pharmaceutical firm MSD Animal Health.

Related topics: Menu Ideas, News, Other operators, Marketing

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