Tesco boss Philip Clarke today admitted customers may be forced to pay more for products after he vowed the retail giant would source more of its meat from the UK, as a result of the horsemeat scandal.

Clarke, who confirmed Tesco is bringing in what he described as the “most comprehensive testing system I’ve ever seen”, added it would switch suppliers, particularly for frozen meat products, from Europe to the UK.

He claimed the move would bring Tesco’s supply chain “closer to home” but acknowledged that the result could be higher prices on the shelves.

“I hope that it doesn’t mean price increases but I can’t stand here today and say that it won’t,” Clarke said. The Tesco chief executive, due to address the NFU conference in Birmingham later today, said it would seek to forge “more partnerships and more collaboration with farmers” in the UK.