Anger over £1.99 Tesco chickens

I kid you not. (note to non-UK readers: Tesco's is the biggest and most successful supermarket chain in Britain) This is the story and where the debate is at:

Animal welfare and farming groups have criticised the supermarket giant Tesco for cutting the retail price of its standard whole chicken to £1.99.
The store says bringing down the price of a bird from £3.30 will benefit "shoppers on a budget".

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) says the move is "extremely ill-judged and short sighted. [...] They're devaluing the product and doing it at a time when, overall, the market is strengthening and chicken prices are rising[DC: Wtf?!?]. They're sucking value out of the supply chain and unless Tesco is going to subsidise this, it is not a sustainable price," he said.

Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), which praised the chain in its latest supermarket survey for improving the environment for indoor-reared birds, believes that Tesco have taken the wrong approach [...] "If Tesco is prepared to drop their prices in this way, why don't they decrease it on the higher welfare chickens and make that more accessible to poorer consumers."

The RSPCA, which oversees the "Freedom Food" programme for livestock welfare, said low-price chicken "was not the answer".

Once more, the BBC's coverage of all matters economic is abysmal (not that political coverage is much better - Chris Dillow makes some very good points here). This is decidedly not public service broadcasting; I want my license fee back.

Related: Indiffirence Merv on hating supermarkets.


  1. Shane Says:

    Irish farmers are at it too. At at time when wholesale food prices are on the rise around the world they feel the need to get a dig in at the supermarkets for allegedly ripping them off.

    It's hard to know who is worse, the organisations who peddle this nonsense or the editors who unquestioningly run these stories.

  2. Charles Letterman Says:

    Tescos have been heavily criticised for reducing the price of its whole chickens to £1.99.

    In the current financial climate Tescos should be applauded. OK, they are probably the country's biggest retail capitalists but, in February 2008, any discount on a basic food commodity will no doubt be welcomed by a majority of customers.

    An RSPCA spokeswoman was quoted as saying, "The consumer has the clout to change supermarket policy and we strongly encourage shoppers to buy higher welfare chicken and not be tempted by the discount."

    Indeed, supply and demand is undoubtedly a wonderful thing. But the fact is that the average consumer cares more about how they are going to feed their family on, in reality, a ever reducing budget, than whether chickens are lied to about what time of day it is. As Tescos put it, "No-one should feel guilty buying a chicken just because it is good value."

    A vast majority of the population cannot afford the luxury of fair trade coffee or free range foods. For those that can, great. I hope that you and Marks & Spencer are very happy.