National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry

Supermarket Review - Week 1 Asda

7th August 2020

Region: National

Supermarkets are often labelled the bad boys of the food industry, but as a nation we would be pretty hungry without them. The UK is around 70% self-sufficient in beef, and 80% of this UK-produced beef is retailed through their outlets. It is therefore in the industry’s best interests to work alongside the supermarkets, discovering what works best for both parties, and trying to change the things that don’t.

As we move inexorably towards Brexit and the new trade deals this will bring, the National Beef Association will be looking into the beef sold in UK supermarkets. While we accept that our current level of self-sufficiency requires imported beef to be used, we expect sourcing policies to be ethical, food production standards to be high and such products to be clearly labelled with country of origin.

We hope that by drawing attention to the good, the bad and the ugly in each supermarket, we can congratulate them on their positive contributions, whilst encouraging a change in policy to improve any negatives which are discovered. This series will run over several months, and we expect some surprises along the way. Prices will not be commented on.

First on the list is Asda. Several branches were visited, both across the Midlands, and in London.

What did we find…

In all visited stores, there was a very good range of products from value mince to low fat/lean mince, diced beef, steaks and roasting joints. Due to the Covid-19 situation, meat counters are temporarily closed.

What did we like..

Fridge meats – all fridge meats were clearly marked with country of origin, and country of slaughter (if this differed)

A sign on a newspaper   Description automatically generated

Fresh ready meals – products in this range were labelled clearly. 100% of products on offer were produced using beef from the UK, and several made reference to Red Tractor Assurance.

A close up of a newspaper  Description automatically generated

Frozen meat - the majority of products were clearly labelled as British/UK or Irish produce.

Online services – Good selection of British beef in frozen, fresh and ready meal beef options.  We especially liked the ability to select British products only, with the UK flag easily identifiable and easy for the consumer to see and make the choice to buy British.

We really liked the pop-up advertisements advertising ‘Make it A Steak Night, which is the campaign run and funded by AHDB. 

The clear labelling of the British flag on the front of packaging again makes it easy for customers to buy British

  What we weren’t so keen on…

The Smart price range differed during our visits and labelling was ambiguous. Country of origin didn’t appear on some of these items, which is something we would really encourage. Let the consumer decide!

A picture containing text, receipt  Description automatically generated

What we really didn’t like…

If it’s meat-free, it’s not a meatball, and if it’s a meatball it’s not meat-free!