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Shoppers say yes to higher pork prices

British consumers have said yes to digging a bit deeper into their pockets to help secure the future of quality British pork supplies according to a survey published today.

The pig industry is facing meltdown with feed prices doubling yet only a modest increase in the retail price could pull the industry back from the brink.

An overwhelming 78% of people polled who buy pig and/or poultry products said that they would be prepared to pay a few pence extra to cover rising production costs and support British farmers. Of these, 42% said they would be prepared to pay up to 10% with a further 36% happy to pay up to 5%. The study was carried out by YouGov on behalf of the British Pig Executive (BPEX).

Britain’s pig farmers launched a campaign earlier this month to persuade supermarkets to increase the prices they pay following a 30% increase in production costs due to worldwide rises in feed prices. Farmers are currently paid £1.10 per kilo for pigs that cost £1.44 per kilo to produce. Without a price increase farmers stand to lose approximately £200 million in the next year alone and many face going out of business.

The survey showed that only 9% of people agreed that farmers are paid a fair price by the big retailers. But overall support for farmers was high with 91% of people agreeing that it is important for Britain to retain a strong agricultural sector. TV chef Antony Worrall Thomson is heavily involved in the campaign. He said: “Consumers happy to pay more? It sounds unbelievable but it’s true. People really do care about the food they eat and the people who produce it. They want farmers to be paid a fair price and are prepared to contribute a few pence more to protect the future of British agriculture. This sends a really strong message to the big supermarkets.

“We’ve got a great farming sector in this country, which produces quality food as well as leading the world on issues like animal welfare. That really is something worth keeping. We want as many people as possible to visit and register their support for the campaign.” Stewart Houston, chairman of both BPEX and the National Pig Association said: “Were asking for modest increases of a few pence on a pack of pork, bacon, ham and sausages. The survey results show that many, many consumers will be happy to pay this. If passed on to farmers this will help to safeguard the British Pig Industry.

“Farmers need this increase now as many are facing ruin. Supermarkets pride themselves on listening to consumers. Well what consumers are telling them is that farmers should receive more from supermarkets. It’s time for retailers to act. “I’m delighted that some of the major retailers are starting to raise their prices. We need to see this extended to include all British pork, bacon, ham and sausages and the money passed back to farmers”.

A website and online petition were launched last week by the National Pig Association to encourage consumers to register their support.

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