The Co-op Group is the first retailer to switch all of its own-brand fresh meat to British suppliers, and not rely on any imports. From 2 May, the Group will provide only 100% fresh British bacon and lamb – dropping imports of Danish bacon and New Zealand lamb.
The announcement comes as the Group publishes research showing that meat imports into the UK have doubled over the last 20 years. Since 1996, the quantity of meat imports to the UK has soared from £3bn to £6.2bn. More than £5bn worth of meat is now imported from European Union member states while Asia and Oceania countries account for £804m worth of imports followed by Latin American imports at £345m.
Almost a tenth of all meat imports into the UK come from Denmark, which exports £550m worth of meat into Britain each year. New Zealand lamb accounts for £291m worth of UK imports and Ireland is the biggest in the EU with £1.45bn of meat imported.
Meat imports by firms in the UK firms have increased from £5.87bn in 2015 to £6.21bn in 2016; they have risen by a third since 2006.