> Tesco Infuriates UK Farmers by Dropping British-Made Sugar Brand - The Food Safety Company Tesco Infuriates UK Farmers by Dropping British-Made Sugar Brand - The Food Safety Company
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    Monday, 6 March 2017

    Tesco Infuriates UK Farmers by Dropping British-Made Sugar Brand

    Supermarket giant Tesco recently made the controversial decision to stop selling Silver Spoon sugar, known to be the only brand made from British sugar beet, opting instead to stock imported sugar from countries as far afield as Belize, refined in East London by Tate & Lyle. The manufacturer, British Sugar, operated as part of AB Sugar which is itself wholly owned by Associated British Foods plc, is far from impressed at the lack of commitment to the UK farming and food industries displayed by Tesco.

    Speaking to Farmers Weekly, British Sugar managing director Paul Kenward told of his frustration at the situation and insisted that, “[British Sugar] didn’t decide not to supply Tesco – Tesco decided not to stock us,

    “The supermarkets in their marketing make a great play of supporting British food and locally grown produce. But all too often – when it comes to a contract stage and they get presented with a choice – for fractions of pennies they will go the other way,” stated Mr Kenward.

    He does however take comfort in the fact that bagged sugar accounts for a relatively small proportion of the UK sugar market, sitting at around 15%; industrial syrups and sweeteners supplied to food and drink manufacturers are by far the more valuable commodity as far as British Sugar is concerned.

    One reason as to why British Sugar has found the decision to be particularly irritating and somewhat perplexing is the fact that one of Tesco’s largest out-of-town superstores sits directly across the road from the British Sugar Factory in which Silver Spoon sugar is made, situated in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk.

    Despite British Sugar’s presence in the industry, and the fact that both the Union Jack and the Red Tractor logo appear on their packaging, Mr Kenward thinks that part of the problem may be that too few customers are even aware that sugar beet is grown in the UK. He added that, “If Tesco wants to get the credit for being supportive of British farmers, then they should support British farmers.”

    Echoing the sentiments of Mr Kenward, newly elected head of the National Farmers Union (NFU) sugar board, Michael Sly, who is himself a beet grower in Cambridgeshire, told Farmers Weekly:

    “Our growers will be disappointed by Tesco’s decision. Beet growing makes an important contribution to rural economies and supports many jobs in rural areas.

    “Many people in Yorkshire, the East Midlands and East Anglia will know that beet is grown locally, yet Tesco is denying them the opportunity to back British farming by switching to cane sugar.”

    Tesco briefly responded to customers concerns on micro-blogging platform Twitter, stating that, “We have decided to change our supplier from Silver Spoon to Tate & Lyle, but we still have Half Spoon and sweeteners available.”

    Sam Bonson

    Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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