Ed Bedington
A project to help the beleaguered UK pig industry by breeding bigger animals is to expand.
The Asda Pig Initiative, which began over a year ago, is to be trialled at depot level, according to agriculture development manager Chris Brown.
Asda has been working with Dalehead Foods to develop a system allowing animals to be taken to heavier weights before slaughter without adding fat.
Brown said the system would allow considerable savings for the UK pig industry, but said the process was ongoing. "We're very cautious and taking small steps."
The larger pigs mean new butchery techniques can be introduced to provide superior quality cuts.
Brown said that initial trials at four stores had been very successful. Product will now be distributed to a far greater number of stores.
"We've seen sales uplifts of around 18%. We're not labelling the packs but the products are better presented."
Brown added: "It will make the industry more competitive and increase meat supply in the short term.
"In the longer term we will evaluate the pigs we're using and see what strains are best suited to the process."