2020-04-08   facebooktwitterrss

NBA Questions Supermarkets in Imported Beef Gaffe

The National Beef Association (NBA) has written to the heads of two of the UK’s major supermarket chains, expressing its disappointment at the decision to import beef products from Poland during the coronavirus pandemic, when there is a plentiful supply of quality, traceable and safe home-secured produce available in the UK.

In separate letters to Asda CEO Roger Burnley and his Sainsbury’s counterpart Mike Coupe, NBA trustee Neil Shand has told the supermarket supremos that their decision to import Polish mince was ‘out of touch’ with current thinking, during a time when the country is ‘pulling together in a flush of patriotic fervour.’

Neil Shand

NBA trustee Neil Shand

While recognising and commending the important role both grocers had played in feeding the country during these unprecedented times, Mr Shand questioned the safety guarantee of imported beef products, at a time when there are no definitive answers on how COVID-19 may be transmitted.

Mr Shand asked whether the CEOs could confirm and evidence that the source farms in Poland comply with the same rigorous conditions that British farms must adhere to in order to supply to their respective stores.

Citing the 20% increase added to the shopping lists and money spent in UK supermarkets, as eateries outside of the home remain on lockdown, Mr Shand appeals to the supermarket chains to share the small glimmer of hope of increased potential profits, with both customers and suppliers.

While appreciating that supermarket staff deserve monetary reward for the extra effort they are making, the NBA expects that supermarkets would also support British agriculture at a time when farmers are working extra hard to maintain the food supply chain.

Mr Shand suggests the symbiotic relationship with British agriculture and the supermarkets requires some adaptation to the current situation, to ensure the continued excellent choice of home-secured produce. Special offers on steaks and roasting joints, for example, along with recipe cards, could help address the imbalance in the supply chain created by the closure of the restaurant sector.

The NBA also cited customer loyalty at a time when consumers have plenty of time to consider and share their thoughts.

“At a later date, when the crisis is over and the luxury of choice is handed back to the public, perhaps they will remember which supermarkets backed Britain,” says Mr Shand.

The full letters to Mr Burnley and Mr Coupe can be found on the NBA website.

National Beef Association

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