British Supermarket Bans All Foreign Meat as Brexit Proceeds

Danish bacon and New Zealand lamb are now off the menu, according to the Co-op.

by Nick Rose
04 May 2017, 3:16pm

Photo via Flickr user Southern Foodways Alliance

As the British Isles breaks it economic ties within the Eurozone, one supermarket chain is going a step further to ensure the most British aisles possible (pun intended, apologies).

As The Independent reports, food retailer Co-op Food, which has almost 5,000 locations across the UK, has vowed to take Danish bacon and New Zealand lamb off of its shelves, making it the first supermarket chain to sell fresh meat exclusively from the UK.

In addition to new bacon and lamb offerings, the Co-op already only sells British beef, chicken, ham, pork, sausages, duck, and turkey, as well as all the meats for their pre-made meals and sandwiches. But the symbolism of the grocer now relying entirely on British livestock for its meat sales is pretty significant, and not lost on farmers.

"Shoppers tell us time and again that they want to see more British food on supermarket shelves," the National Farmers' Union said in a press statement, adding that this move toward British bacon and lamb is a great first step, but that grocers can go even further if they want to put British meat first.

READ MORE: Why Brexit Has Made Bacon More Expensive

"As a first step, retailers need to state when they wish to source British lamb, but we would also like to see retailers work with British producers to extend their British season for fresh lamb and help utilise all cuts of meat by using British lamb in their ready to eat and ready meal lines."

But for the Co-op, this new policy seems to be about more than being on good terms with farmers. The amount of meat being imported to the UK from the EU and other countries has more than doubled in two decades, which was good news for foreign producers and bad news for the British economy.

This economic uncertainty is something we've covered in detail on MUNCHIES, as is the rising price of bacon in the wake of the Brexit vote, but the Co-op is now putting its money where its mouth is and seems confident that consumers will follow suit.

"British consumers will be shocked to see how meat imports have grown while at the same time retailers hang out the bunting and claim to back British farmers," Jo Whitfield, retail chief executive at the Co-op, said in a separate statement, imploring other supermarkets to follow suit, in light of the potential shakiness that lies ahead, post-Brexit. "I call on other retailers and food providers to do more to help our farmers, particularly as they head towards uncertain times."