Tesco will never sell chlorinated chicken. That was the message from John Kirkpatrick, agricultural manager for poultry and eggs, who spoke at the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) conference on 15 October in Birmingham. He told delegates American chlorinated chicken had been ruled out. “Our CEO has said no to chlorinated chicken,” he said.Speaking about Tesco’s commitment to British sourcing after Brexit,
The situation with eggs was more complicated though. “Our commitment to British shell egg remains,” said Kirkpatrick. “The conversation begins with liquid egg. We in Europe are exposed to liquid egg. To be able to migrate that quickly [to other suppliers after Brexit]is a huge challenge, working with farming partners in Europe.”
Kirkpatrick also discussed the decision by retailers to stop selling caged eggs by 2025.
Tesco was committed to offering a value egg, said Kirkpatrick. “There will always be a demand for entry tier,” he said. “We have nailed our colours to the mast; our farming supply base have full support to make the conversion [to barn].”
“There is a hard core of 20% to 25% of Tesco shoppers for whom price is really, really important. These are people with a £12K household income a year. That customer has really stark choices to make in their food shop. These are consumers who will switch for a penny; they notice that on shelf. We as a food retailer need to be responsible. For the entry shopper, price is their first priority. They have very little disposable income and we have a duty of care to that customer.
“Some people are still talking 100% free-range up, but I see the importance in a value egg.”