The UK’s National Farmers Union has met with Tesco to discuss how the country’s largest retailer can implement its pledge to source more meat products in the UK.

Last week, Tesco said it would work to take complexity out of its supply chain in a bid to avoid future contamination scares similar to the horsemeat scandal that has swept Europe. Speaking at the NFU annual conference, Tesco CEO Philip Clarke said the horsemeat scare had been a “wake up call” for the industry.

As part of its plan to “bring food closer to home”, from July, all fresh chicken sold by Tesco will be sourced from within the UK. The retailer plans to do the same with frozen chicken “over time”. All of the retailer’s fresh beef is already sourced in the UK, the company said.

Following a meeting with Tesco yesterday (7 March) NFU president Peter Kendall commented: “We recognise the significance of Tesco’s commitments and will be working closely with its team to ensure that the retailer’s sentiments and latest commitments deliver real value to the sustainability of the UK farming industry.”

Kendall outlined what the NFU believes should be Tesco’s sourcing priorities, suggesting that changes made by the group needed to be “measurable” and include “longer term commitments” and “improved relationships”.

“The meeting was a first step in working towards these goals and it showed clear signs that Tesco wants to build partnerships. There is a lot of work to be done and the NFU will be working to help Tesco deliver,” he said.