Alyn Smith MEP has challenged the European Commission to take on the rise of fictional farms as a brand tool, joining SNP Councillor Gail Ross in the fight to support farmers against supermarket chicanery.
In recent years various supermarkets in Scotland, notably but not exclusively, Tesco, Aldi and Lidl, have begun to produce brands named after fictional farms. One example of this is ‘Boswell farms’, recently launched by Tesco to market a range of meat products.
Alyn, Scotland's sole voice on the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, said:
“Fake farms are simply not acceptable. If the packet boasts a farm, surely the food should come from that farm.
“It’s no secret that farmers have been struggling, between bad weather, poor sales, and unfair trading practices by the supermarkets. So I find it absolutely abhorrent that someone in an office has seen this and immediately thought of a way to capitalise on consumers wanting to support local farmers.
“The EU has done excellent work in protecting consumers from unscrupulous producers through its Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) scheme. Arbroath smokies, Shetland wool, Stornoway black pudding and Scotch Whisky have all benefited.
“Now I want to see the Commission continue to protect consumers and farmers alike by taking action to restrict this sneaky marketing.”
Gail, the SNP candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, added:
"Growing up in rural Scotland, I've seen first-hand the effects that supermarket unfairness can have on farmers, their families, and the wider community. Farmers have been asking how they can compete when the big supermarkets are flying in New Zealand lamb advertised under a Scottish banner.
"Every farmer I’ve spoken to recently has either seen it themselves or knows someone who has, and that’s not on. They deserve better than this, and I'll be fighting tooth and nail to back them up."