The Co-op beefs up its British food credentials with UK-only frozen meat in £2.5bn investment drive

Rebecca Smith
The Co-op wants to bag sales from competitors with the buy British focus
The Co-op wants to bag sales from competitors with the buy British focus (Source: Co-op)

After becoming the first national retailer to sell British-only fresh meat earlier this month, the Co-op is now pledging to sell 100 per cent British own-brand frozen meat too.

Extending its commitment to freezer food comes amid a new five point plan from the retailer to support British farming as it plans to source £2.5bn worth of UK farmed products and boost sales as Brexit draws closer.

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Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells is launching the three-year farming plan at the company's annual general meeting (AGM) in Manchester today. The blue-print includes investing £2.5bn to source own brand British meat, as well as produce and dairy products from the UK over the next three years, from 2017 up to and including 2019.

Around 20 odd products, spanning ready meals and party food, will change from foreign producers to British ones in the new switch.

The Co-op also plans to extend British seasons for home-grown fruit and vegetables, support British horticulture with new ranges and commit to fruit and vegetable growers with new long-term contracts.

So British shoppers could be less susceptible to facing another dreaded lettuce shortage in the future. Headlines racked up earlier in the year over salad and vegetable shortages due to bad weather in southern Spain, where many of Britain's vegetables are sourced during winter months.

Britain imports around 50 per cent of its vegetables and 90 per cent of its fruit.

Murrells said:

Our multi-billion pound investment in home-grown goods is a ringing endorsement for the quality standards of the goods farmers produce.

In uncertain times we firmly believe now is the time to support UK farmers. We have just introduced only own brand fresh British lamb and bacon in our stores and from next year we’ll only use British meat in all our frozen foods.

Earlier this month, the firm announced Danish bacon and New Zealand lamb were among the meats being ditched for domestic options. It said prices will not rise as a result.

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