Tesco has come under fire by the National Pig Association for its failure to support British pig farmers as production costs rise amid the war in Ukraine.
The news comes as Waitrose extended its support package for its British pork farmers of up to £16 million as the industry faces “its biggest crisis in a generation.”
In an open letter to the Big 4 grocer’s CEO Ken Murphy, the NPA warned that the supermarket risked losing its British supply base if it didn’t pay a “fair price” for its pork.
Currently, UK pork producers are facing “unprecedented losses as costs of production soar due to record pig feed prices.”
“The problems facing the sector have been building for some time and have arisen through no fault of the primary producers,” the letter states, explaining that “By 2023 British pork will be in such short supply that most retailers will no longer be able to source it.”
The letter centres the role of retailers, as they “hold the key to injecting more money into the supply chain”.
“A relatively modest investment by Tesco will not only prevent the destruction of the sector, but it will mean that British pork will still be available at a price affordable to your customers. Paying a little more today is likely to save you money in the long term,” the letter read.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of time and each week that passes puts pig farmers further into the red.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We fully recognise the seriousness of the situation UK pig farmers are facing and have been working closely with our suppliers to understand what more we can do to support the sector.
“Through the buying models we already have in place, our suppliers have increased payments to farmers by £3.4 million since March 2022. However we would like to do more and are actively working with our suppliers on a further enhanced payment plan to support farmers in the short term.”
The inaction comes after the Big 4 grocer revealed its pre-tax profits have tripled, surpassing £2 billion.