British pig farmers have highlighted their 'thorough disappointment' to learn that a 'Great British' pork brand has been using imported ingredients.
The company behind the iconic Mr Trotter’s Great British Pork Cracklings brand has said it is hoping to find British suppliers of bacon rind again, after it admitted it had been importing its ingredients since last year.
In a statement, Mr Trotter's said the company found it could no longer be assured of British supplies in 2018 ‘due to the company’s high specifications and the diminishing size of the British pig herd’.
As a result, ‘continental rinds are of necessity making up the main percentage of that company’s supply,’ it said, adding that it has removed references to 100% British rind on its packaging and now references continental pork.
The company recently signed up to the Happerley traceability scheme, which requires companies to state the details of where their ingredients come from.
It said the scheme had raised the question of whether it could ‘sensibly call itself British, or if that was misleading the customer.’
Rupert Ponsonby, the co-founder of the company, said it was now hoping to find ‘regular supplies of high quality British rind’, although he stressed it was ‘tough’ to find the right specification.
“It is time we worked together to find a solution, so we can again raise our percentage of British pork,” he said.
Mr Trotter’s was established in November 2011 with the intention of being the first commercially available pork cracklings of the present era to be made with British pigs.
Two of the original founders, food writers Matthew Fort and Tom Parker Bowles, resigned as directors when the company started using imported ingredients, as their purpose from the outset was to find a way of supporting British farmers.
The National Pig Association (NPA) said British pig farmers were ‘thoroughly disappointed with the move’.
NPA chief executive, Zoe Davies said: “I am saddened that they failed to come to us first to look for alternative solutions before making the switch, such as sourcing British Red Tractor assured pork, but assume this decision has largely been driven by cost rather than issues with sourcing British and to suggest as much is wholly disingenuous.
“We will certainly be in touch with the company to see what we can do to bring this hugely iconic brand back into repute.”