At Co-op, all our fresh beef is 100% British, produced to the high standards you expect and deserve. So we have developed close relationships with the farmers who form Co-op Beef Group.
Together with these farmers, we are focused on offering you high-quality beef and a transparent supply chain you can trust, so you know exactly what you’re getting – and where it comes from. All members of the Group meet strict welfare standards and have the opportunity to meet up three times a year to share ideas and discuss best practice with their fellow members. In return, the farmers receive a premium price for their beef.
Within Co-op Beef Group are more than 60 carefully selected ‘foundation’ farms, the producers of our Truly Irresistible range of beef, which uses the finest native British beef breeds – Hereford and Aberdeen Angus.
Launched in 2013 with the aim of reviving its popularity, our Hereford beef (sold in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) is naturally marbled, succulent and full of flavour. Aberdeen Angus (sold in Scotland) is a traditional Scottish breed, well known for its fine marbling, quality and texture.
Why should I buy beef from Co-op?
Where is your beef sourced from?
All our fresh beef and chilled prepared meals containing beef are 100% British, sourced from farms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
How do you know that the cattle are well cared for?
All our beef farmers are accredited to a national farm assurance scheme, such as Red Tractor, which ensures high standards of animal welfare. These schemes cover aspects such as the housing of animals and stocking densities, feed and water, health and veterinary controls, breeding, traceability and transportation.
These farms also work with an independent third party to measure their performance and to drive long-term improvement. The Co-operative’s dedicated agricultural team visits these farms when possible throughout the year, as well as undertaking welfare checks at all abattoirs.
Find out more about The Co-operative’s commitments to animal welfare.
How do farmers benefit from being part of Co-op Beef Group?
As part of Co-op Beef Group, our farmers are guaranteed a premium price for their beef, allowing them to invest for the future. They also have the opportunity to meet three times a year with their fellow Group members to discuss industry issues, share best practice and drive improvements.
We are proud to support our beef farmers. As well as providing these opportunities for knowledge exchange, and paying a price premium, we continue to invest in initiatives and projects to benefit the wider farming community.
How does working with farmers directly benefit me?
While The Co-operative Beef Group aims to encourage best practice among farmers and to give them profitable returns, it also ensures that we can provide you, our customers, with high-quality beef at a great price. Creating long-term relationships with farmers means we can give you complete transparency in our beef supply chain too, which is built on honesty, fairness and trust. Ultimately, we are giving you the opportunity to join us on our journey to continually invest and support British farming.
How do you trace the origin of your beef?
Our farmers are passionate about the beef they produce and together we go to great lengths to ensure the highest quality. In light of cross-contamination challenges in the past, we have a rigorous authenticity programme in place which includes carcase DNA swabbing. Our dedicated food technical and agricultural teams regularly carry out audits in abattoirs and processing sites. We keep detailed traceability records and have developed close relationships with our farmers and beef suppliers, so we know that we are providing you with 100% British beef on our shelves.
Meet the beef farmer: Chris Weston
Committee member Chris Weston achieved a gold standard during his first year in Co-op Beef Group. He produces high-quality Hereford beef for our Truly Irresistible range.
Chris grazes 40 Hereford cows across his 210 acres of permanent grassland. His organic farming system is very traditional, utilising homegrown feed, and is eco-friendly, too. A carbon footprint audit confirmed that Chris’ farm has a positive impact on the environment – minimal electricity is used on the farm and a good mix of locally sourced inputs helps to support surrounding businesses.
Chris believes that the Hereford cattle breed is well suited to his farm as they flourish on grass-based diets, which is the best quality and cheapest form of feed available.
"Co-op Beef Group is great, I’m all for it! It is brilliant that Co-op is getting behind British farmers. It’s really a two-way thing – I’ve learnt a lot about Co-op’s business and they have been able to build relationships and support me and other beef farmers."
Chris Weston - Co-op Beef Group
"Hereford beef offers outstanding quality and succulence – it’s a traditional breed with a distinctive flavour."
Chris Weston - Co-op Beef Group
As well as being environmentally aware, Chris is also committed to treating his staff fairly and responsibly. The Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code – promoting respect for workers – is in place at his farm, signed by the members of Chris’ team. Staff are appraised annually and provided with training opportunities where necessary.
Chris attends all meetings of Co-op Beef Group and has hosted meetings to share his knowledge, experience and views with other members across the UK.