Tesco announces £25million investment in British farming

8 Nov 2012

Tesco will become the first retailer in the UK to work directly with beef and pork farmers as it announced a new £25 million annual investment in British agriculture today.

Tesco will become the first retailer in the UK to work directly with beef and pork farmers as it announced a new £25 million annual investment in British agriculture today.

In a move designed to help take the pressure off British farmers following rising feed prices, the retailer will create two new groups, run by committees of farmers, which will guarantee beef farmers an above market price for their meat and a price linked to the cost of feed for pork farmers.

In an industry first, farmers in the groups will be given direct contracts and in response to requests by the farming community, these will last for up to 36 months, giving livestock farmers more security, the ability to plan ahead and a guaranteed fair price for their meat.

Derek Lawlor, Meat, Fish and Poultry Director at Tesco said: “As British agriculture’s biggest customer, we’re delighted to be announcing this new way of working with British beef and pig farmers.

“Pig farmers have been under pressure with significant rises in feed prices so it means a great deal to work in partnership with them and British beef farmers to help secure the industry’s future in this country.

“Not only will our customers enjoy even more high quality, high welfare British meat in our stores, the Tesco Sustainable Farming Groups, like our pioneering dairy group before them, will guarantee farmers a fair price for their meat and allow them to invest and plan for the future.”

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “Farmers and retailers will thrive when they work together for the future of the whole industry. This is an excellent scheme which will give more certainty to beef and pork producers.

“Freeing up businesses from unnecessary burdens and getting them the right support will lead to a stronger UK production sector, which will allow British farmers to take advantage of the huge opportunities to supply markets at home and all over the world.”

NFU President Peter Kendall said: "Tesco's desire to establish a dedicated relationship with producers matched with a long term direct contractual commitment should be praised. We believe that these arrangements will foster stronger relationships with the farmers involved and ensure that Tesco is able to provide a consistent product for consumers."

National Pig Association Chairman, Richard Longthorp said: “The NPA applauds Tesco for developing its sustainable pig group and working directly with pig farmers. Creating this direct relationship with its pig farmers will bring an unprecedented level of transparency to the pricing of pigs and pork from farm to fork.

“This transparency and the direct linking of pig price to increasingly volatile costs of production should bring benefits to the whole chain through fairer sharing of risk and reward. It will also mean that Tesco will be able to secure its supply of high welfare, independently audited, British pork for its customers in the face of otherwise reducing supplies.”

Tesco will work directly with around 140 pig farmers who will supply the retailer with the majority of its own brand fresh pork. With feed prices liable to fluctuations outside the control of farmers, the scheme will see prices for meat reviewed on a monthly basis with feed taken into account.

The retailer will also work with around 1,000 beef farmers who will supply Tesco with all its Finest brand beef. This will be reared exclusively from Aberdeen Angus cattle.

All livestock farmers in the Tesco Sustainable Farming Groups will be offered contracts up to 36 months, to make sure they can plan for the future.

The new way of working is likely to affect up to 10% of pork and beef farms in the UK, with livestock in both groups reared to meet Tesco’s high welfare standards.



Notes to Editors

  • This is the first time in the UK that a retailer has had direct contracts with livestock farmers alone, rather than suppliers and processors too. Farmers in each group will be given contracts of up to 36 months.
  • The Tesco Sustainable Farming Group for pork will include around 140 pig farmers. Prices will be reviewed monthly and linked to actual feed prices, and contracts will include six month notice periods to give farmers a more stable working environment.  The group will be run by a committee of farmers who will act as a liaison between Tesco and the group.
  • The Tesco Sustainable Farming Group for beef will include around 1,000 farmers and like the pig scheme will be run by a committee of farmers. Contracts of up to 36 months will be offered allowing farmers to invest and plan ahead, while a 40p/kg deadweight bonus over the published average price will also form part of the offer.
  • To read more about the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group and how it’s been helping dairy farmers since 2007, please visit the Tesco Real Food website: http://realfood.tesco.com/our-food/milk.html
  • If you are a beef or pig farmer interested in joining the Tesco Sustainable Farming Groups please e-mail Tesco at TSPGenquiries@uk.tesco.com or call 01992 646191. 

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

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