Posted: Tue 25th Jul 2023

“Force online supermarkets to make it easy for shoppers to choose Welsh meat”, argues Plaid Cymru

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jul 25th, 2023

A north Wales politician is calling for new measures to ’empower shoppers to back local farmers’ when shopping online. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Llyr Gruffydd MS, Plaid Cymru’s agriculture spokesperson, said that regulations are needed to force supermarkets to enable consumers to filter for Welsh meat when shopping online. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He also called for on-demand grocery services to clearly label the origin of their meat. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Together with Plaid Cymru agriculture spokesperson in Westminster, Ben Lake MP, Mr Gruffydd has written to the UK Government urging them to introduce regulations to require that consumers have access to increased transparency regarding where meat is produced. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Online shoppers should be given the right to filter for meat and poultry originating from Wales, say Mr Gruffydd and Mr Lake. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

When shopping in the supermarkets, consumers can scan the shelves and see the labelling which indicates if a produce originates from the UK. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

However online, this is more difficult to do as consumers must either search through different items or enter keywords into the search bar. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The ease with which consumers can see or select a produce which originates from the UK also varies between the online platforms used by the supermarkets. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In the letter Mr Gruffydd and Mr Lake argue that the “level of information and choice available to consumers when purchasing meat and poultry online varies between the platforms used by major supermarkets.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They claim that the issue is “increasingly being exacerbated by the growth in on-demand grocery services which significantly limits consumer choice and provides very little information about the products selected.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The letter continues onto say: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I would greatly appreciate if in response to this letter, you would be able to set out what consideration your Department has given to this issue and I would urge you to introduce regulations to require that consumers have access to increased transparency regarding where meat is produced and are given the right to filter for meat and poultry originating from the UK, and where applicable from Wales, when shopping online and via on-demand grocery services. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Empowering consumers to purchase meat and poultry originating from the UK, and where possible Wales, is vital if we are to support farmers in the face of recently signed Free Trade Agreements, which over time will see the removal of tariffs on sensitive agricultural products, undercutting Welsh farmers by making meat from Australia and New Zealand more accessible in UK markets. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I’m sure that you would agree that supporting and safeguarding farmers is vital if we are to guarantee long-term food security. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“A worrying survey by the National Farmers Union, published in January of this year, found that 40% of cattle keepers, and 37% of sheep keepers were considering reducing their numbers in the next 12 months. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“With the World Bank estimating that by 2050 demand for food across the globe will have increased by 70%, it would be reckless to risk our agriculture sector. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“If farmers are failed now, access to food for households in Wales will become more reliant on imports and so vulnerable to global risks which can affect supply chains including political upheaval, war and climate disasters. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This would be particularly damaging for lower-income households who spend a higher proportion of their income on food and are therefore disproportionately affected by food price rises. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Farming is part of the social fabric of Wales and is at the heart of many rural communities. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Farming provides both direct and indirect employment as well as playing a key role in sustaining the Welsh language, culture and heritage. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I urge you to work with the supermarkets and on-demand grocery services to develop strategies to better support this vital industry.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Llyr Gruffydd MS said: “When buying in-store many of us will choose Welsh meat which is often easily identifiable on the shelves. The reality of our busy lives means that more and more are choosing to shop online, where the lack of an easy filtration system means that it is not as easy to choose Welsh meat. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This undermines the hard work of Welsh farmers who take pride in producing meat of the highest quality. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Together with Ben Lake, I have written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about this important issue. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We believe that transparency and empowerment go hand in hand. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“By introducing new regulations that mandate supermarkets to enable easy filtering of meat by country of origin, we can empower shoppers to support local farmers and strengthen the Welsh agricultural sector.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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