The Co-op has announced that it is extending its commitment to back UK farmers by switching all of its fresh bacon and lamb to 100% British.
The new sourcing initiative will make the Co-op the only major UK food retailer to stock 100% own-brand fresh British beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon and turkey. It is already the only retailer to use British meat in all its chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches.
Under a three-year plan, the convenience retailer pledged to invest a minimum of £1.5bn sourcing UK meat and vegetables. The announcement came at the start of Love British Food Fortnight, which runs from 17 September to 2 October and this year is sponsored by the Co-op.
Steve Murrells, retail chief executive of the Co-op, said: “We are a major supporter of British farming. This move is a first for a major food retailer and will see us invest millions more into sourcing home produced goods.
“It’s an exciting time at the Co-op and our growing confidence is shown by our investment in UK farming as we do business a better way to meet consumer demand.”
The NFU welcomed the Co-op’s announcement with its President Meurig Raymond saying: “The public tells us time and again that they want to see more British food on supermarket shelves and it’s fantastic to see that the co-op has recognised this and realised that it makes strong business sense to support British farmers.
“In the face of market uncertainty post-Brexit, the Co-op’s commitment to source British lamb all year round is particularly important in providing the support and stability to help British sheep farming thrive and sends a clear message that British lamb really is the best in the world.”