Tesco has been called out on its use of fake farm names on its value brand meat.
Tesco has been threatened with legal action after it used the name of a genuine outdoor-reared pig farm as part of its ’fake farm’ range.
Woodside Farm, a pig, sheep and arable farm in Wellow, Nottinghamshire, was called on by environmental organisation Feedback to demand the retailer dropped the branding from its value range for ‘misleading consumers about the origins of their meat’.
The charity threatened legal action if the supermarket failed to stop using the name after confused customers of the real Woodside Farm had been asking if the farm’s produce was stocked in-store.
A spokesman said: “For all shoppers know, behind the bucolic mirage could lie a high-intensity, unsustainable mega farm.”
Farmer Richard Baugh, whose family has been farming outdoor reared pigs since the 1950s, said: “It bothers me. What bothers me the most is they are using a very British sounding farm name but they are not always using British meat.
“That is what I have a problem with. They are putting their cheapest brand pork under that label.”
While Mr Baugh said he would be taking no legal action, he has adopted the branding from his hog roast business Bofs Hogs to avoid further misunderstanding with consumers over the quality and origin of the meat under the Woodside name.
Feedback awarded Tesco its first ‘Total Bull’ award - the ‘biggest bull on [your] supermarket shelves’ - for deliberately encouraging consumers to believe the meat was sourced from small-scale producers.
The charity also slammed Asda Farm Stores, Lidl’s Birchwood Farm meat range, Aldi’s Ashfield Farm and Marks and Spencer’s Oakham chicken for similar offences.
It ramped up campaigning on social media and has threatened legal action against Tesco if it fails to drop the labelling.
A spokesman said: “We believe this is a peddling load of bull.
“For all shoppers know, behind the bucolic mirage could lie a high-intensity, unsustainable mega farm.”
Tesco confirmed it was aware of the complaint and had made contact with Feedback and Mr Baugh, and referred to earlier comment on criticism about misleading farm brands.
Its chief executive Dave Lewis said: “What I would reiterate is we developed, we created those brands with our customers.
“So the creation of a brand which symbolises a certain level of quality and certain level of value and then guarantees it every time they buy it – customers get that, they understood it, they developed them with us and it is competitive and what happens in the food market anyway.
“There are a number of brands within food that use naming that are not literal in any way, shape or form but have become Qs of quality. A brand is a Q of and a guarantee of a certain level of quality.
“That is what we see in the farm brands.”