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Co-operative signs Back British Farming charter
2:15pm Wednesday 21st August 2013 in Rural Focus
THE Co-operative has pledged support for the Back British Farming campaign.
Steve Murrells, chief executive, retail, of The Co-operative Group, said: “We are one of the UK’s leading supporters of British farmers and, as such, we are delighted to get behind the NFU campaign and sign up to the Back British Farming Charter to ensure a sustainable UK agricultural industry.
“In a recent survey commissioned by the Co-operative, 72 per cent of people said it was very important that the UK has a sustainable farming industry, with 22 per cent saying it was quite important. Food security, the economy, food quality and animal welfare were among the main reasons given for this.
“Our commitment to British farming was demonstrated earlier this year with the launch of The Co-operative Farming Groups for British beef, poultry, pork and lamb, which we introduced to cement relationships with producers, deliver a continued investment in quality, and provide customers with a more consistent and transparent supply chain.
“All our fresh chicken, pork, beef and turkey is 100 per cent British, as are all our own-brand sausages, burgers and ham, and all our own-brand eggs, milk and cream are British. We also only use British meat in all our premium Truly Irresistible, Eat In and barbecue products.
“The Co-operative is also one of Britain’s largest farmers, growing significant quantities of fruit and vegetables for our stores across the UK, so we recognise the difficulties growers can face due to the unpredictable British weather and support them wherever possible.
For example, the coldest spring in 50 years led to an unprecedented peak in UK strawberries last month, but we worked with our UK growers to manage this with strong customer offers, which meant we sold almost 50 per cent more strawberries this July than over the same period last year.
“Sales of British salad items have also soared in recent weeks and our commitment to home-grown produce will continue throughout the year so we can offer our customers the best of British, as part of our aim to deliver delicious food, conveniently.”
The NFU has welcomed the support from the Co-op.
A spokesman said: “Now consumers have a vital role to play in ensuring shops make good on their promises.
Next time you're out shopping and British produce is not on the supermarket shelves, ask the store manager why. And tell us how you think supermarkets are doing in their pledge to Back British Farming.”
NFU president Peter Kendall said: “Consumers are increasingly showing their support for British farming and are our best ally. I would ask them to continue showing their support by demanding of their local supermarket, restaurant, or MP – what are you doing to Back British Farming?”
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