ABP cites panic buying in response to UFU criticism

Beef processor ABP has responded to criticism from the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) over supplies of Polish beef to UK retailers.

The processor cited an “unprecedented increase in demand” caused by panic buying as the reason for supplying beef from Europe, including Poland, to the retailers in question.

Earlier today, the UFU said that farmers were “angry” over reports that ABP had supplied some 400t of Polish beef to retail chains Sainsbury’s and Asda.

In a statement, ABP said: “At the end of March, many of our retail customers experienced panic buying, as people prepared to remain at home in response to Covid-19.

This resulted in an unprecedented increase in demand over a very short period of time and processing capacity was not able to meet the surge in demand.

“To ensure that consumers would continue to be served during this national emergency, ABP temporarily supplemented its existing supply chain with European beef, including Poland,” the statement added.

It continued: “This product is produced to the same exacting traceability and quality standards as all ABP products. This was a temporary measure related to one product which was clearly labelled and was aimed to meet the surge in demand at that time.”

According to ABP, supply arrangements are “now reverting to normal”.

Disruption

In related news, last week Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said that the meat industry in Ireland is experiencing “major disruption to normal trading conditions” due to restaurants, quick service restaurants, caterers and similar businesses around Europe closing down because of restrictions related to Covid-19.

MII highlighted that the food service channel accounts for over 30% of Irish beef exports, while also being an important market for other meat products from Ireland.

However, this market has “effectively been shut down”, with orders ceasing, MII said.

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