LONDON – Retail giant, Tesco is under fire from local beef producers after the UK’s largest supermarket chain cut the amount of British beef it bought last year even though it promised promising to locally source in the wake of the horsemeat scandal, according to The Guardian. In fact, Tesco purchased nearly 8 percent less British beef in November 2013 than it did a year earlier despite taking out full-page advertisements 12 months ago saying: "We know that the more we work with British farmers the better."
These results are included in a National Farmers Union (NFU) report card on the progress of the UK's biggest grocers, which all said they wanted to buy more in Britain in order to keep a closer eye on their suppliers after horsemeat was found in burgers and ready meals stocked in Tesco, Aldi and Asda.
While Tesco has achieved its goal of sourcing all fresh chicken in the UK, as promised in its advertisements one year ago, the report claims the supermarket has not set a timetable for its goal of putting British chicken in all its ready meals – plus, it has not set an aspiration to source 100 percent British lamb in season.
Tesco responded that it "didn't recognize" the 8 percent drop in its purchase of British beef highlighted by the NFU and that all its beef was sourced in either the UK or Ireland, which customers did not differentiate between. As a result of sourcing all its fresh chicken in the UK, it now bought 20,000 tonnes more British chicken a year, Tesco added.
The NFU's assessment is another slap at UK supermarkets, which are striving to regain shoppers' trust following the horsemeat scandal. One survey reveals that public trust in supermarkets had sunk to 52 percent, down from 69 percent before the scandal hurt the industry last year.