Business

The pig farmer taking on Tesco

Richard Baugh Image copyright Richard Baugh

Pig farming can be a messy business, but some say supermarkets are playing an even dirtier game.

Richard Baugh's family have been raising pigs for three generations at Woodside Farm in rural Nottinghamshire.

But Mr Baugh says he's been forced to change the name of his business after Tesco rebranded its own label pork products as "Woodside Farms".

He's now threatening legal action if the supermarket giant doesn't drop its new branding.

"What bothers me the most is it's not necessarily British food they're putting it on," says Mr Baugh, who's changed his business name to "Bofs Hogs" to differentiate it from Tesco.

"It's European pork which sometimes isn't under our strict regulations."

A spokesperson for Tesco said the supermarket was not willing to comment, but in the past it has said the brands have been popular with customers.

Controversy

Mr Baugh has been offered legal support by anti-food waste charity Feedback.

The group has urged Tesco - along with Aldi, Asda and Lidl - to stop using so-called "fake farm" branding, arguing that it misleads shoppers about the origins of produce.

In 2016, the supermarket giant sparked controversy after launching seven new brands all with British-sounding, but fictitious, farm names.

Woodside, Willow and Boswell Farms are used for the chain's own-brand pork, chicken and beef, while Redmere Farms is used for vegetables.

Rival firm Morrisons also took part in a similar practice, but said it August that it would discontinue its brands.

Image copyright Tesco

Mr Baugh admits Woodside is a common farm name in Britain, but says he's concerned by Tesco's attitude towards the farming community.

"They've got so much selling power they don't have to worry about what farmers think," he says.

"At the end of the day, price of product will always win over welfare."

The biggest problem is standing together, he adds.

"Farmers are all independent businesses, they don't all have the financial backing that Tesco has."

"We don't stand together very well, that's why - as a business - farmers are weak."

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