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Morrisons commits to selling only British fresh meat

Morrisons has become the first of the big four supermarket multiples to commit to selling only British fresh meat in its stores.

The move comes after the retailer’s decision to no longer stock fresh lamb from New Zealand or Australian. Farming groups criticized Morrisons earlier this year after it emerged it was selling imported lamb legs during the winter and early spring months under its Market Deals brand, despite its promise to source 100% British fresh lamb for its own label ranges.

Morrisons said it was able to make this commitment because it has a supply chain which deals directly with British farmers. Rather than buying meat from intermediaries, the vast majority of its meat comes from Morrisons’ own abattoirs and processing sites

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) welcomed Morrisons’ latest pledge with its deputy president, Minette Batters, saying: “We are extremely pleased that Morrisons has shown this level of commitment. It will certainly make it easier for shoppers who want to buy British lamb but have previously been confused by the Market Deals labels.”

Morrisons Meat Director, Rob Youngson, commented: “Customers tell us that they want more homegrown food. 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.”

The provenance of fresh meat is becoming a marketing battleground for retailers, with the Co-op  recently announcing a 100% British policy for both its own label fresh and frozen meat lines.

Retailers are also seeking more local supplies for other products in light of Brexit and the rising cost of imported goods. Back in February, Morrisons launched a programme to recruit more British food firms under the title ‘The Nation’s Local Foodmakers’. This aims to recruit more than 200 new suppliers from across England, Scotland and Wales in the first year, reducing the retailer’s reliance on imported products.  Events across the country have seen local suppliers pitching their products to Morrisons’ buyers in hope of securing a listing.

Morrisons claims that more than two thirds of its food is British, compared to a national average of 52%.

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