The Co-operative has extended its commitment to UK farmers by switching all of its fresh bacon and lamb to 100% British, meaning all meat products will be UK-sourced by next year.

It claimed that its new sourcing initiative would make it the only major UK food retailer to stock 100% own-brand fresh British meat, including beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon and turkey.  

The Co-op is currently the only retailer to use British meat in all its chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches. 

Under a three-year plan, the Co-op has pledged to invest a minimum of £1.5bn sourcing UK meat and vegetables, with the aim of increasing availability of British produce when available and in season. The announcement comes at the start of Love British Food Fortnight, which runs from 17 September to 2 October and this year is sponsored by the Co-op. 

Steve Murrells, Co-op retail chief executive, said: “We are a major supporter of British farming. This move is a first for a major food retailer and will see us invest millions more into sourcing home produced goods. It’s an exciting time at the Co-op and our growing confidence is shown by our investment in UK farming as we do business a better way to meet consumer demand.”

Andrea Leadsom MP and environment secretary said: “The Great British brand is renowned across the globe for its quality, innovation and tradition. We should rightly have pride in Britain’s reputation for producing quality meat and this announcement is a real vote of confidence in our farmers and an industry that is the bedrock of our economy. It’s great to see the Co-op taking the lead to celebrate the best of British and supporting our Great British Food campaign.”