NFU criticises Tesco Ad for Plant-Based Sausages for “Demonising” Meat

Little Girls says "Daddy I Don't Want to Eat Animals Anymore"

The National Farmers Union objects to Tesco’s new TV advert for Carl’s ‘All Change’ Casserole which was shown on TV on 10 October 2019. NFU President Minette Batters has written to Tesco to outline its members “significant concerns” with the language used within the advert and how it has caused significant distress for British Farmers. It claims that meat is being demonised as a food group.

What exactly does the NFU object to?

Here is the exchange:

Dad: “So Chloe walks in from school”

Chloe: “Daddy, I don’t want to eat animals anymore”

Dad: “I blooming love my meat but not as much as I love my little girl. That’s why we’ve made some changes to our old favourite. Sausage Casserole a la Carl.”

So a little girl saying “Daddy I don’t want to eat animals anymore” is causing distress for British Farmers. On the other hand, the reality is that this sounds just like the kind of conversations that are being had in many families up and down the country. The advertisement simply makes a factual connection that meat does actually come from animals, and therein lies the rub. The fundamental ethical vegan question is laid out starkly, and apparantly this causes “distress”.

Demonising meat

The NFU believes that such messages are “demonising meat as a food group”  which negatively impacts farmers and denies meat’s place as part of a healthy balanced diet. The NFU points out that meat is “naturally rich in protein and are a good source of iron, zinc and essential vitamins”. Furthermore, it points out that there are certain groups of the population, such as teenage girls, who are not eating enough of these micro-nutrients for their dietary needs.

“We believe it is vital that children do not establish misleading views of food groups, which may later affect their health and diets,” says the NFU.

The NFU is pushing strongly for the message of a balanced approach within the National Food Strategy.

Beef farmers are at a crisis point according to the presidents of the four UK farming unions. The presidents of the Welsh NFU, the NFU,  NFU Scotland and the UFU issued a joint statement in July at the Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd. The presidents said: “The UK beef sector is at crisis point: We’ve seen downward pressure on farmgate prices throughout the year and this dire situation cannot, and must not, be allowed to continue”.

They issued a 5 point collaborative action plan and “as a matter of urgency, called on the main UK retailers and foodservice providers to urge action to alleviate the issue” to fulfil the “strong consumer demand to buy British beef”.

The meal is part of Tesco’s Food Love Stories series and features the supermarket chain’s new Plant Chef Meat-Free Cumberland-style Bangers. The recipe is available on Tesco’s website.

Tesco meanwhile is committed to dramatically increasing the number of its plant-based products. It has just launched its own Plant Chef brand nationally. Tesco has been committed to being a leader in plant-based food for some time now.

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Nicholas Orosz

Nicholas is a former City solicitor and Cambridge graduate. He has a long-standing interest in health & nutrition, the environmental movement, green politics & digital publishing. He has always loved crafting words. His transition to a vegan perspective has been gradual and an ongoing process of self-discovery. Contact:
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