Pig producers are calling on consumers to “save our bacon”, as 10% of British pig production could disappear this year due to soaring feed prices.
Farmers are now losing £18 per pig they produce [Bpex] because the cost of feed has increased by 25% following bad weather in the US, the Black Sea and parts of northern Europe.
But they are not receiving more money for the pigs they produce, as the “intense high-street rivalry” between supermarkets kept a lid on retail prices, the National Pig Association claimed.
According a recent NPA survey, pig farmers representing 10% of the UK’s weekly pig production are saying they will have to quit farming pigs if they don’t see a fair price between now and Christmas because they cannot afford to feed their animals.
If 10% of British pigs disappeared, the industry would lose 1.5 million British bacon rashers and 2.3 million sausages a week, the NPA said.
The body called on shoppers to buy more British pork in the coming months, in the hope that rising demand would convince retailers to do more to support British pig farmers.
“If supermarkets see a surge in demand for British products, they may be persuaded to pay our farmers the few extra pennies a kilo more they need to cover their soaring feed bill,” said the NPA’s general manager, Zoe Davies.
“So we are asking shoppers, who have always been incredibly loyal in the past, to please be extra careful to look for the British Red Tractor logo on bacon, sausages and pork.”
A British Retail Consortium spokesman said: “The major retailers always have an eye on commodity prices and what steps they need to take to support the farmers and producers within their supply chains. It’s in retailers’ own interests to have reliable supplies of the food consumers want to buy, including bacon and sausages.
“Targeting supermarkets overlooks the fact that they are by no means the only buyers of British pork. Retailers do a great deal to support home-grown produce and supermarkets have the best record when it comes to clear labelling, so consumers wanting to buy British can identify it easily. The focus should be on encouraging less supportive sectors, such as food manufacturing, to up their game.”