The supermarket was found to be promoting own-label pre-packed fresh Danish pork last weekend. The Danish meat was being sold on offer at half price, or £2.99 per kg.
At the same time, Sainsbury's website stated: “Of foodstuffs that can be grown in this country, we source more than 90% from Britain. We source 100%-British fresh pre-packed pork.”
Sainsbury's has since retracted its 100% claim. “The statement on our website was incorrect and has been amended,” said a spokeswoman. “We are committed to buying British wherever possible and are constantly looking to increase British sourcing.”
The supermarket claimed its ham, pork sausages, processed pork and Taste the Difference and So Organic pork were all 100% British, as was its So Organic, Butcher’s Choice, Taste the Difference and Basics bacon. However, there were times when the retailer was unable to get sufficient volume from the UK to meet demand and occasionally had to source pork from Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany, it said.
Pig industry representatives have criticised Sainsbury's for its stance. Yorkshire pig producer Richard Longthorpe said consumers held retailers in a position of trust when it came to guarding standards, and that situations like this undermined public confidence. “It would be lovely if we got in a situation where we trusted what they said and did,” he said.
Retailers needed to think carefully before making bold provenance claims, added Bpex.
“If you make a commitment, you should be able to live up to it. Otherwise don’t make it,” said Bpex senior national account manager Simon Brookes. However, he said Sainsbury's had made progress in its meat sourcing in other areas, such as its own-label ham and sausages.