Yorkshire sausage company Debbie & Andrew’s is launching the UK’s first fair trade scheme for British pig farmers in a bid to overcome the crisis in the industry and save the British sausage from extinction. Debbie and Andrew Keeble, ex-pig farmers and founders of the company, have pledged to pay a 15% premium for all of the pork they source from January, with this money being passed directly to farmers and, importantly, processors.
Debbie & Andrew’s sources all of its pork from a network of named, high welfare British farms that are still entirely family-owned and run. The company’s unique fair trade agreement means that all of its pork is fully traceable back to individual farms. They are the first UK producers to guarantee a better price for everyone in their supply chain.
Debbie & Andrew’s is also calling on the industry and retailers to create a steering group to agree a more cohesive approach to promoting British meat and providing improved public information about why it is better to buy British.
As a British farming family with over 20 years of industry experience, Debbie and Andrew Keeble are passionate about ethical food production and sustainable British pork sourcing. For too long they believe Britain has relied on cheaper meat imports – the major factor that forced them to give up their own herds and diversify. They also believe that if something isn’t done to address the country’s deepening pig industry crisis, quality British sausages could soon start to disappear from butcher and supermarket shelves.
Andrew Keeble says, “We need to be doing more to promote the benefits of British pork and to keep people informed about why it is better to buy British. So far the focus has been on freshness and regionality, but Britain leads the world in animal welfare which is becoming more important in terms of food safety and hygiene. There is also an insatiable appetite for cheap food in this country which has made the job a lot more difficult.
“We’ve got some of the best food on our own doorstep and we should be embracing this, not turning to cheap imports which might be saving a few pence on the shopping bill but which, ultimately, are driving prices down and putting British farmers out of business. The question we’ve all got to ask ourselves is if this country has an industry worth saving. We say yes and that everything possible should be done to preserve it. Paying a little bit more for good quality British food that we can trust has got to be worth it.”