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Rise in UK beef prices puts Irish beef back on Asda shelves

Irish beef is back on the shelves of Asda, the UK’s third largest supermarket, after it committed last year to sourcing 100pc British beef.

n Asda spokesperson confirmed to the Farming Independent that rising beef prices in the UK were behind the decision to source some Irish beef. 

“’We know that it is important to our customers that the beef on our shelves has been produced to high welfare standards and is affordable,” the spokesperson said.

“Unfortunately, the price of British beef has risen and while we continue to work hard to keep prices as low as possible for our customers, these increases are significant.

“All fresh beef in our premium Extra Special tier is and will remain 100pc British, and all of our fresh beef will be sourced from farms in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

“This allows us to provide quality products which caters to all customer budgets.”

The spokesperson added that UK beef prices have risen by approximately 20pc over the last 12-24 months.

The UK’s National Farmers Union (NFU) called the move “disappointing”. 

Last year, Britain’s billionaire Issa brothers and private equity group TDR Capital bought Asda from Walmart in a deal which gives the UK supermarket chain an enterprise value of $8.8 billion and the buyers a platform to roll out smaller stores.

In a statement announcing the takeover, the new owners set out to increase the proportion of UK-based suppliers, increasing the volume of products — such as chicken, dairy, wheat and potatoes — purchased from UK suppliers each year, as well as a commitment to source 100pc British beef.

The number of UK retailers stocking Irish beef fell to just two – Tesco and Sainsbury’s – after Asda implemented its change for the last three months of 2021.

Bord Bia has said that the UK remains the most important Irish beef export market, taking 47pc of total exports, and that 40pc of Irish beef exports to the UK end up on supermarket shelves.​

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