Co-op Group says support for British farmers is part of its role in the community

The Group’s Catherine Bennett told a National Farmers Union event that local sourcing was a cornerstone of its food strategy

The Co-op Group repeated its pledge to support British agriculture at a recent National Farmers Union conference.

This follows on from the retailer’s commitment in May to source all its fresh lamb and bacon from British farms. It also doubled the volume of Welsh lamb and beef recognised under the Protected Geographical Indication scheme in more than 160 of its Welsh stores.

The commitment saw it extend its Lamb Farming Group to include its Cambrian Lamb Group, expanding the membership to include a total of 32 farms from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Midlands and the South West of England.

And the Group only sells British beef, chicken, ham, pork, sausages, duck and turkey and only uses British meat in all its own-label chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches.

From 2018, it will only source 100% British meat in its own-brand frozen products.

Agriculture manager Catherine Bennett told the Montgomeryshire NFU Cymru County Conference: “A commitment to local sourcing forms a cornerstone of the Co-op’s food strategy.

“Supporting British doesn’t just support the farmer but it also supports the whole community – and community is at the heart of our business strategy.”

Alex Higgs, chair of NFU Cymru Montgomeryshire County, told Farming UK: “We’re pleased that the Co-op are sourcing more and more meat from our domestic markets.

Related: Co-op Group launches Scottish Salmon Farming Group

“We know that consumers want delicious, simple-to-cook meals and it’s essential the industry continues to promote lamb, in particular, as a nutritious and great value choice. We must ensure younger consumers are aware of its versatility and ease of cooking.

“NFU Cymru is engaging with HCC and key stakeholders within the industry to help promote our world-class PGI product in the UK as Welsh farmers we are reliant on the domestic market and could be even more so following our departure from the EU.”

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