There's no substitute for first-hand experience but few
catering butchers have ever been on to a pig unit to see
what happens themselves.
To start putting that right, the British Pig Executive
(BPEX) took a group on a farm tour to show how free range
pigs are produced and the benefits in supplying premium
assured pork to customers.
The day, which was hosted by Staffordshire farmer Rob
Mercer included a tour of his Packington Pork pig farm
where butchers saw the welfare-friendly environment in
which the pigs are raised.
Rob said: "We were delighted to show them around
and give them an idea of our high welfare standards. That
makes a real difference to the pork.
Assurance and traceability mean the customer also knows
exactly what they are eating and the history behind it."
BPEX foodservice trade manager Tony Goodger said: "Our
Pork in Foodservice report shows the opportunities for
the foodservice market in introducing more premium pork
dishes to menus.
"Caterers and their suppliers need to work together
effectively to ensure they source consistent top quality
pork that will really add value if they are to command
and justify premium prices.
Peter Godfrey, whose company supplies a number of top
London hotels and restaurants, said: "It is important
to have a good relationship with farmers as they need to
understand what our customers want.
"Demand for free-range pork is starting to increase.
It offers such good eating quality but there is still work
to be done in the catering industry to demonstrate why
premium and quality should reign over price."
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