Tesco slammed for failing to stock English apples

Store stocked 22 foreign varieties - but none British

Updated: 
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Tesco is again under fire for selling foreign food at the expense of British produce in one of its stores.

Customer Leo Dean says he was unable to find a native British apple in his local Macclesfield store - despite its carrying 22 different varieties.

"When I couldn't find an English apple I had to check twice. A member of staff checked as well and admitted they had none in stock. He was clearly embarrassed," he told the Manchester Evening News.

"Supermarkets should be buying local or at least from the same country and supporting British farmers, not flying in apples from the other side of the world during peak apple season in this country."

In fact, August is rather early for British apples. However, other stores in Macclesfield, including Aldi and Sainsbury's, are able to stock them.

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Single green apple in white background.

The row comes only a month after British farmers slammed Tesco for promoting New Zealand lamb at a time when British lamb was reaching peak season.

A rcent 'report card' from the National Farmers Union (NFU) showed that Tesco and Asda were the worst offenders when it comes to stocking British products, with Morrisons the best.

"We're not saying that supermarkets should not stock any foreign produce. But we would urge the retailers to listen to what consumers are saying," commented the then NFU President Peter Kendall.

"The horsemeat scandal showed us that food security isn't just about an abundance of supply. It's also about safety, quality and transparency. British farmers and growers provide some of the highest quality produce in the world produced to high standards of quality, welfare and traceability and consumers want to buy it."

What British farmers don't provide, though, is enough food for the UK. Production has fallen 2% over the last year, with the UK now only producing 60% of what's needed.

"What needs to happen now is for us as a country is to give farmers the green light to produce more food for us," says NFU president Meurig Raymond. "Our aim is to ensure the country – consumers, politicians, retailers and the wider food industry - is backing British farming."

In the case of apples, pressure from supermarkets for blemish-free produce has led to a preference for foreign varieties. While sales of Coxes, for example, have fallen, Gala has taken over. Pink Lady, one of the most widely-stocked varieties in UK supermarkets, is even trademarked, so that British farmers are unable to grow it.

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Farmers slam Tesco for promoting New Zealand lamb
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English Apples Make Late Arrival