At Co-op, we believe that pigs, like other livestock, need to be reared by farmers who understand the animals they care for. So we have formed long-term relationships with more than 100 from carefully selected farmers, who produce our pork with passion, to the high standards we – and you, our customers – expect.
This means that our pigs:
- For our standard range the pigs are produced to meet the requirements of the Red Tractor Assurance scheme and are labelled with the Red Tractor Pork logo.
- The pigs produced to Red Tractor Assurance requirements are labelled with the Red Tractor Pork logo.
- In order to achieve this standard, farmers must comply with over 130 criteria relating to food safety, pig husbandry & welfare and environmental protection at all stages of production. These range from the design of pig accommodation to staff training, health monitoring, feed, pig transportation and overall pig management.
- Farms are independently audited to assess their compliance with the scheme’s standards.
- For our premium range (Irresistible) pigs are produced to the RSPCA’s assurance scheme. These pigs are born outdoors in straw-based arcs, before being brought indoors to naturally lit barns after 4 weeks. As per the standards set by the RSPCA the pigs are a bedded on straw and other such bedding material and socialise with their peers.
- All members of the Pork Farming Group have the opportunity to meet up three times a year to share ideas and discuss best practice with their fellow members. In return for being part of the Group, farmers can receive a premium price for their pork.
Why should I buy pork from the Co-op?
Where is your pork sourced?
Our fresh pork, bacon and sausages are all sourced from British farms.
How do you know that the pigs are well cared for?
All our pork farmers are accredited to a national farm assurance scheme, such as Red Tractor, which ensures good 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-op’s dedicated agriculture team visit these farms when possible throughout the year, as well as undertaking welfare checks at abattoirs.
Find out more about The Co-operative’s commitments to animal welfare.
How do farmers benefit from being part of The Co-operative Pork Group?
Farmers within the Co-op Pork Farming Group have the opportunity to achieve a price premium based on their performance over a variety of different criteria including animal health & welfare, environmental sustainability and ethics & training. These price premiums reward our producers for going the extra mile to ensure the pork supplied to the Co-op is of the utmost quality with minimal environmental impact. They also help our farmers invest in their businesses for the future.
We are proud to support our pork 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-op Pork Farming Group aims to encourage best practice among farmers and to help improve their returns, it also ensures that we can provide you, our customers, with high-quality pork at a great price. Creating long-term relationships with farmers means we can give you complete transparency in our pork 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.
What makes your Irresistible sausages and bacon different?
To make sure that our Irresistible sausages and bacon meets your expectations for flavour, quality and high animal welfare they are produced using Freedom Food accredited, outdoor bred pork. The pigs are born outdoors and then transferred to open, naturally lit barns with deep straw bedding as they get older. All these farms have been inspected and approved by RSPCA, to the welfare standards laid down by their assurance scheme. Each product is produced using the best quality ingredients to focus on the taste and flavour of the product to make it really delicious.
Meet the pork farmer: Randall Boddy
Randall Boddy is a member of The Co-operative Pork Group and achieved a ‘gold’ standard by excelling in all areas of The Co-operative Pillar Model; a fact which he is extremely proud about. The pig unit operates alongside arable and beef enterprises, a co-product feed business and an anaerobic digester green energy plant.
The East-Midlands family business, managed by Randall, purchases around 900 pigs per week from an outdoor, Freedom Food-assured breeder in Southern England. The pigs are born outdoors in farrowing arcs then weaned into outdoor ‘Cosy Kennels’ before being brought into open-fronted straw yards. Randall works closely with the breeder to ensure impressive performance on farm as well as exceptional eating quality.
An anaerobic digestion plant has recently been built on the farm, which now provides enough electricity for 700 homes, as well as the farm itself. This has enabled the business to halve its electricity bill and significantly reduce its carbon footprint by providing a sustainable source of energy.
Randall also values the need for sustainability within his workforce and actively focuses on developing tomorrow’s farm managers from within his existing staff and encouraging apprentices from a local agricultural college.
By ensuring that the farm is continually invested in, and looking ahead on issues such as sustainability, diversification, future staffing and animal welfare, Randall now sees the business at the forefront of British agriculture.