Waitrose Bid To Create A Domestic Calf Market

UK - WAITROSE is set to become the first supermarket chain with milk and beef producers not involved in calf exports because they can get a fair return from the domestic market.
calendar icon 11 May 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

The retailer is finalising plans for all black and white calves from members of its Select Farm groups to have automatic passage through to its specially designed beef calf scheme.

It comes after last month’s disclosure that major farming bodies and supermarkets, including Waitrose, were discussing ways to boost the domestic market for calves and end the need for exports.

Waitrose said this week that it was still discussing a pricing mechanism but denied it was closing off markets for its producers. “I have not said to any producer they cannot send calves for export,” said Heather Jenkins, head of meat and dairy buying at Waitrose.

“It would be very easy to say we ban and don’t support exports but it is a much bigger issue than just calf exports. We need to have a viable beef sector and that means more investment. We have to have calves that get a return from the marketplace,” she said.

NFU dairy board chairman Gynn Jones welcomed the news and said a domestic market had never been there for calves before. “It is not a negative thing. If they pay a proper price then why would anyone want to export?”

Mrs Jenkins said Waitrose had to be seen to take a lead on the issue. “We pay a premium and we expect very high standards that is what our consumers expect us to do.

“There is so much waste in the sector and we can’t have that because there is going to be a shortage. This is an opportunity to take a collective responsibility. If we can’t do it, who can?”

She said they would be working with their producers to improve the genetics of calves to enable them to ‘make money in the beef industry’.

Source: Farmers Guardian

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