Sainsbury's has launched a scheme to move cull cows from the dairy industry into the beef sector and turn a dairy industry by-product into a valuable resource. Under the new initiative, the chain's Dairy Development Group farmers will supply Anglo Beef Processors with cattle, earning farmers a 20p/kg loyalty bonus and providing ABP with a consistent cattle supply. Sainsbury's said the scheme would also improve animal welfare, as live animals would be moved direct to UK abattoirs, reducing travel times and environmental impact. Up to 12,500 cows a year could be involved.

The culled meat would be used in Sainsbury's value ranges, said agriculture manager Annie Graham. "By identifying abattoirs in key areas of supply this initiative is working in line with the principles of the SDDG," she said.

"A network of abattoirs mirroring Sainsbury's milk fields will ensure transport for live animals is reduced, cutting food miles," she added.