British farmers slammed Asda for breaking its vow to offer only British beef.
The shop blamed the change on rising meat prices and claimed it would now stock Irish and British beef.
Just over a year ago, the grocery chain's new owners, the Issa brothers, pledged to only buy British beef. The retailer just met its obligation in October.
The National Beef Association (NBA) chief executive Neil Shand expressed disappointment that Asda couldn't extend their commitment beyond two months.
The NBA anticipates a 20% increase in farm gate pricing for British cattle since the outbreak began.
Farmers fear that higher prices for their produce are offset by rising feed, fuel, and fertiliser costs.
“The greater meat price is eroding,” Shand added. No matter how cheap beef is, it can't be produced at a lower cost.
“We know that our customers value good welfare standards and low cost beef,” Asda added. While we will continue to work hard to keep pricing reasonable for our clients, these increases are significant.”
Also, every beef offered in Extra Special will be 100% British.
According to the Irish Examiner, Irish meat is 20% cheaper than British beef. According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, more than three-quarters (78%) of beef imports into the UK in 2019 came from Ireland (AHDB).
The National Farmers Union (NFU) livestock board chair, Richard Findlay, said farmers required retail assistance given the post-Brexit changes to agriculture policy and the need to invest in environmentally sustainable food production.
“Given the enormous changes to trade and agricultural policy, it is more crucial than ever that our merchants defend British food and farming,” Findlay added.
Shand praised Waitrose, M&S, Morrisons, Co-op, Aldi and Lidl for sticking to their guns and selling only British beef.