Ulster Farmers’ Union President, Barclay Bell, says the Co-op group has shown up other retailers by committing to selling 100 per cent UK bacon and lamb.
The retailer has decided to drop both Danish bacon and New Zealand lamb after research showed imports have doubled over the past 20 years.
“Buying UK fresh meat all year round is a very welcome step. The Co-op has grabbed the lead over other retailers, with this commitment to back home production. The scale of meat imports has long been a concern and the Co-op deserves credit for supporting UK farms,” said Mr Bell.
The UFU believes this decision is a challenge to other retailers. It says the Co-op is recognising the importance of food security and of having short, fully traceable supply chains.
“This approach delivers a high standard of locally produced food. I believe this is what consumers want to buy, and it is a challenge farmers want to meet. Backing local produce also has positive knock-on effects for the economy, the environment and society. I would urge all retailers and food service companies to step up to the mark and follow the Co-op’s, lead,” said Mr Bell.