Morrisons commits to selling only British fresh meat

Retailer Morrisons has become the first of the UK’s major supermarkets to commit to making sure that all the fresh meat that it sells is British.

The group on Thursday said that it would stop selling fresh lamb imported from New Zealand and Australia, which it had previously stocked during the winter and early spring months.

It said that over two thirds of the food that it sells is already British – compared to a national average of 52 per cent – but that it is still keen to put “more homegrown food in front of customers”.

“Customers tell us that they want more homegrown food and we are listening,” said Rob Youngson, meat director at Morrisons, speaking at the Great Yorkshire Show on Thursday.

“We have always been committed to selling British meat and today we are taking this a stage further by making a clear pledge that if you buy fresh meat at Morrisons it will be British.”

Morrisons said that it was able to make its commitment to supplying only British fresh meat because it deals directly with farmers, rather than buying from intermediaries.

The vast majority of the meat that ends up on the shelves comes from Morrisons’ own abattoirs and processing sites. The supermarket’s livestock buyers buy cattle, pigs and lamb directly from farmers.

In February, Morrisons already said that it intended to recruit more than 200 new suppliersacross England, Scotland and Wales over the coming year in a bid to reduce its reliance on imported good.

The fall in the value of the pound since the UK’s decision to leave the EU last year has also provided an incentive for supermarkets to look for more local suppliers and thereby keep costs down and reduce supply chain risk.

Earlier this year, retailers across the UK were forced to implement sales quotas on certain vegetables such as courgettes, aubergine and lettuces as a result of poor weather in Southern Europe reducing harvest.

** There are other supermarkets.

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