Call to Supermarkets to Source More Chicken from Scotland26 November 2013
UK - The National Farmers Union in Scotland has called on major retailers to make a strong commitment to source more chicken from Scotland, in the wake of potential job cuts at 2 Sisters Food Group in Coupar Angus and potential reduction in shifts,.
NFU Scotland understands 2 Sisters is negotiating at present with its major retail customers to identify future volumes and profile required from Scottish producers. The outcome of these negotiations is key to determine the shape not only of 2 Sisters’ processing operation but also farm production in Scotland.
At this crucial stage NFU Scotland has written to all the major retailers, including Tesco, Asda and Morrisons to stress the importance that they do their bit to ensure the future of the Scottish poultry industry.
Following on from the announcement this week by the 2 Sisters regarding the outcome of the first stage of its review, NFU Scotland has been speaking to various parties, including the 2 Sisters Food Group, Scottish Government and 2 Agriculture.
2 Agriculture is an agriculture business which spans the full supply chain from food mills and hatcheries to the production of table birds and supplies poultry to the 2 Sisters Food Group.
On the back of talks with the Scottish Government a focus group is to be set up to look into the impact this announcement will have on the agricultural sector as a whole. It will be tasked to identify the key challenges faced by this sector in sustaining market share and in the long-term, increasing the volume of quality production.
Commenting, NFU Scotland’s President Nigel Miller said: “We recognise there has been significant commitment by some major retailers sourcing fresh chicken from Scotland. It is however vital that the local sourcing policy is visible throughout the chicken shelf space in the stores.
“Shelfwatch has identified a real gap in retailer commitment. We have really got to get an understanding from the retailers how we can actually serve their needs better and if investment in further processing, presentation or packaging is required to have a greater shelf share in Scotland.
“I have written to the major retailers to gain an understanding of their commitment. We need to know where the scope is to grow the market, where the weaknesses are and why there are significant volumes of produce sold from other parts of the UK and farther afield in our supermarkets. A partnership approach can support a vibrant sector underpinned by farmers that have invested heavily to ensure quality production and high welfare standards. It is urgent that we address this.”
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