NFUS: Scottish Shoppers Duped by Misleading Labelling

UK - Scottish shoppers looking to support Scottish farmers are being misled into buying imported produce as a result of ineffective rules around product labelling.
calendar icon 10 June 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

In recent days, several farmers have highlighted to NFU Scotland a range of cooked meat products currently available in Aldi supermarket stores. The front of pack labels feature the Scottish Saltire flag, the thistle emblem, the words ‘produced in Scotland’ and that the product was ‘made in the Scottish Borders’. However, close examination of the small print on the rear of the packs shows that the beef and turkey comes from animals reared in the EU or South America.

The Union recognises that it is unlikely that any labelling laws have been infringed but it believes that the use of iconic Scottish images in this way is misleading and many consumers will have purchased these packs of meat in the firm belief it actually contained Scottish produce. NFU Scotland has written to Aldi to raise its concerns.

Wendy Fleming, NFU Scotland Food Chain Relationships Manager said: "Aldi has shown that, in sections of its offering to customers, it is an important supporter of Scottish food and farming and we welcome that support.

"However, NFU Scotland is hugely disappointed to have received reports of some cooked products on Aldi’s shelves taking advantage of iconic Scottish branding to mislead consumers into believing products are of Scottish origin when in fact they originate from the EU and South America.

"Scottish consumers are likely to recognise and support the Saltire flag and the thistle emblem and be happy to read that something is ‘produced in Scotland’. Faced with such front of pack branding, they are unlikely to turn the product over. However, if they did, they could be in for a shock as the small print reveals that while the product may have been manufactured here; the country of origin of the meat in the pack may be thousands of miles away. While it is unlikely that any labelling laws have been infringed, we believe the labelling is misleading and that consumers deserve better.

"It is in the interests of Scottish food and farming, Scottish consumers and Aldi that immediate steps are taken to rectify this form of misleading labelling on processed product.

“We would want all supermarkets to tell their customers, in a open, clear and concise manner, exactly where their food comes from and let them base their shopping choices on that."

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