Saturday, May 18, 2024

Lidl makes half a billion investment into British pork sector

In a significant initiative to bolster the British pork industry, Lidl GB has announced an investment of £500 million into the sector.

As the fourth-largest retailer in the fresh pork category with an 11% market share, Lidl says it is taking action to address recent sector-wide challenges. These include rising costs, a Chinese import ban on EU pork, and butcher shortages, which led to a significant backlog of healthy pigs and financial worries for producers.

Being the second-largest retailer to have a 100% everyday fresh British pork pledge, the move represents a doubling down by the discounter on its support for British producers through the introduction of its new ‘Lidl Pork Standard’.

As part of its new standard, Lidl has moved pork producers to an open-book producer costing model that includes the on-farm cost of production, guarantees minimum producer volumes, and includes a fixed margin for farmers.

This change was developed in collaboration with pork producers through its newly created ‘Lidl Pork Producer Group’, as the retailer recognises the need for a more sustainable pricing model within the pork sector for suppliers and farmers.

Through its new pork producer group, Lidl will fund research and development projects aimed at mimicking the natural behaviours of pigs, such as rooting, sniffing and chewing, in turn improving their overall wellbeing. In a new trial, 3D cameras have been introduced to record the nature and frequency of the animals’ enrichment interactions, with the data being subsequently used to enhance welfare.

As part of the three-pronged approach and through collaborative efforts, Lidl is investing in assessing the carbon footprint of all the farms in its pork producer group and subsequently putting plans in place to reduce these emissions. Alongside this, it will also be investing over £250,000 in at-risk GB catchments to support river health and water quality, while working to achieve deforestation-free soy sourcing by the end of 2025.

This latest investment follows an injection of over £14 million into the industry in 2022 when the market price fell far below farmer cost of production.

Richard Bourns, Chief Commercial Officer at Lidl GB, said: “This latest investment underlines our commitment to British producers, animal welfare and the environment.

“Acknowledging the challenges faced by the industry and its farmers in recent years, we recognised the need for intervention and the development of a bespoke solution addressing these challenges.

“That’s why we’ve been working closely with our suppliers and farmers, including major partners such as Cranswick and Pilgrim’s, to ensure we understand the intricacies of this supply chain and are well positioned to deliver impactful change.

“With our pork market share significantly greater than our broader market share, it highlights the substantial influence we have in this area and we’re embracing our responsibility to drive positive change.

“Our new pork standard is all about supporting our rural communities and ensuring the resilience of the sector while providing customers with high-quality British pork at affordable prices.”

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