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Morrisons criticised for Christmas British sourcing policy

The NFU’s criticism of Morrisons came as retailers gave evidence to an Efra select committee enquiry on falling farm prices
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Morrisons is reportedly selling discounted Australian and New Zealand lamb
Morrisons is reportedly selling discounted Australian and New Zealand lamb

Morrisons has come under fire for its high profile British sourcing policy in the run up to the Christmas period.


The retailer is reportedly running a promotion on discounted Australian and New Zealand legs of lamb and the NFU has claimed its commitment to source 100 per cent British has slipped.


This came despite Morrisons claiming at an Efra select committee enquiry on falling farmgate prices last week it stocked 100 per cent British on fresh meat, the NFU said.


High profile members of Sainsbury’s and Tesco also gave evidence to the meeting.


NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said much of Morrisons messaging to shoppers was around stocking 100 per cent British on all fresh meat.


“We appreciate Morrisons purchases around 750,000 lambs every year, but it is a real shame the retailer is now, despite its commitments to consumers, stocking imported product under a Morrisons own brand," he said.


 “It is even more surprising as just yesterday Morrisons’ corporate sourcing director, Alex Brown,  told the Efra Select Committee enquiry into farmgate prices the retailer stocks 100 per cent British on fresh meat."


The enquiry saw the retailers defend their position on falling farm prices, and explored the price war supermarkets are currently involved in.


Quizzed by meeting chair Neil Parish MP on whether the ongoing price war was delivering lower farmgate prices as a result, Tim Smith, group quality director at Tesco said: "I do not think we see the evidence for that.  We buy, we think, around a quarter of all the agricultural output in the UK.


"When we are talking to our UK supply base, take milk, specifically we know where necessary, you have to decouple what the market is doing from the price we need to pay those farmers, effectively to protect the investment they have put into the supply chain and their assets, which are built to supply Tesco."


Speaking about Morrisons British sourcing policy at the enquiry, Mr Brown said: "On lamb, everything under the Morrisons brand is 100 per cent British. We bring in a small amount of leg meat at Christmas and at Easter, purely because we sell so much on offer, which we have got on right now."

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