The campaign, The Pork Report, involved NPA staff visiting top retailers to compare the provenance of pork they were selling, and how it was merchandised, in comparison with other meats.
Aside from Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, both of which received the thumbs up from the NPA for the range of British pork on offer in stores, other retailers received mixed reviews.
Although Aldi was said to have some “exciting” new pork products, all made using fresh British pork, the discounter was criticised for untidy displays, while Asda made it “hard to differentiate between British and European products”.
The NPA said the Co-op included “potentially misleading messages about the provenance of products” in one of its stores, and Lidl was criticised because researchers were unable to identify “a single British gammon joint”. On the plus side, the NPA was impressed by Co-op’s support of local producers and Lidl’s use of the Red Tractor logo.
Meanwhile, the NPA was “not impressed” with Morrisons’ ham, which it said was “described as Wiltshire Ham but produced using EU pork”. It also stated that it was disappointed that Sainsbury’s had “started to use a ‘fake farm’ name for some products, the origin of which is unclear”.
The NPA report alleged that Tesco’s Woodside Farms brand, which used a Union flag on the label, to was of “mixed origin”.
Following the investigation, the NPA’s chief executive Zoe Davies said The Pork Report was designed to highlight the good and bad practices within retailers.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of British new product development out there among the retailers we visited,” said Davies. “There was generally good support for British pork products and lots of examples of helpful displays and labelling.
“But there were also examples of retailers that could be doing more to support British producers in their sourcing policies and some cases of confused displays and unclear labelling.”
In response to the review, Sainsbury’s told GlobalMeatNews that all of its fresh pork products were British.
“We’re focused on offering the best possible choice, quality and value while also sourcing British as much as we possibly can,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson told GlobalMeatNews.
“There are also a number of pork products in our J James & Family range, which we launched recently to simplify our meat, fish and poultry lines for customers. It is named after our founder, John James Sainsbury and all these products are clearly labelled, with the source listed on the pack.”
Other retailers that were criticised by the NPA report failed to provide comment on it.
The NPA recently warned the Government about changing pig production labels on packaging as it was “unnecessary” and could “mislead consumers”.