Background 1045 views update:Mar 9, 2016

Tesco falls short of British poultry commitment

Two years on from Tesco promising to source all of its poultry from the British Isles, little progress seems to have been made, a Poultry World analysis can reveal.

While the supermarket quickly and successfully delivered on its promise with regard to fresh poultrymeat, large amounts of its value-added products are still made using foreign chicken.

Source all fresh chicken from the UK

Tesco made its initial announcement to the NFU conference in 2013 in the wake of the horsemeat scandal, in which horsemeat was found in readymeals instead of beef. It said it would source all fresh chicken  – understood at the time to be around 80% – from the UK. Former chief executive Philip Clarke then said: "We will also move over time to ensure that all the chicken in all of our products – fresh or frozen – is from the British Isles."

Significant price premium

Poultry World has surveyed some 260 products for sale on Tesco's website, including readymeals, pizzas and other products containing chicken and found 172 (66%) to contain chicken not from the UK. The 88 products containing British chicken were largely from the supermarket's "Finest" range, which has moved to 100% British in the past two years. While it accounts for many lines, it typically carries a significant price premium.

Flavoured poultry almost exclusively made from EU poultry

Few products in standard ranges contained poultry from the UK, even those that were made in Britain. None of the supermarket's standard range curries, flavoured chicken portions or pizzas that were surveyed used UK chicken. Fresh poultry that was flavoured or had added products – such as Hunter's Chicken or "mini roasts" – were almost exclusively made from EU poultry.

Price clearly a factor

Price is clearly a factor. An "Everday Value" pack of fresh British chicken breast, weighing 450-650g, was priced at £6.90/kg. But a 1kg pack from the same range contained frozen EU breast portions at just £3.85/kg. The supermarket is understood to have taken on longer-term agreements in its poultry supply chain with integrators Moy Park and Cargill. It says it now makes "joint decisions on price and volume commitments" with the two, and this had driven confidence to invest in production.

Source: Farmers Weekly

Jake Davies

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