Waitrose has announced a further support package for its British pork farmers of up to £16 million as the industry faces “its biggest crisis in a generation.”
The high-end supermarket has pledged to cover the full cost of rearing and producing pigs, including labour, feed and fuels, offering farmers financial security.
Since Autumn, foreign exports of pork have fallen significantly and with supply far outweighing demand, causing the price of meat to plummet.
Furthermore, production costs have risen, with the cost of feed rising steeply as a result of the war in Ukraine – meaning many British pork farmers are struggling to stay afloat.
The issue has been further compounded by a shortage of trained butchers in the UK, meaning farmers cannot process their existing livestock resulting in a further loss in sales.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) estimates that tens of thousands of pigs have been culled, with their meat discarded rather than sold for food.
“Farmers are the backbone of Britain, keeping food on our tables during our country’s hour of need through a pandemic. But now, they need our help,” Waitrose executive director James bailey said.
“This investment is a direct response to some of the most challenging conditions the pig sector has ever faced. This is not only the right thing to do, it will ensure we continue to pay our farmers a fair price while maintaining our quality and high welfare standards.
“This issue is industry-wide and we need the entire food industry and the British public to get behind us.”
NFU president and farmer Minette Batters added: “Waitrose has acted thoughtfully and the move will inject much-needed confidence for their farmers.
“We need all supermarkets to take similar action and create support packages that will genuinely come to the aid of British pig farmers in their hour of need – the rapid rise in farm costs needs to be met or we risk supply into next year.”