Tesco has been criticised for no longer stocking British grown sugar in spite of their Bury St Edmunds store being next to a British Sugar plant.
At a farming conference, British Sugar’s managing director Paul Kenward accused Tesco of failing to support British farmers and workers, citing the example of Bury were the Silver Spoon factory is only 325 metres across the A14 from Tesco’s superstore.
The Bury factory employs 230 people and buys beet from 700 local farmers, where Tesco now sells Tate & Lyle sugar refined in the UK from sugar cane grown in the tropics.
Mr Kenward told the conference: “The supermarkets in their marketing make a great play of supporting British food and locally grown produce. But all too often, when it comes to a contract stage and they get presented with a choice, for fractions of pennies they will go the other way.”
British Sugar processes all the sugar beet grown by more than 3,500 farmers, mostly in East Anglia at four factories in the east of England.
National Farmers’ Union Sugar Board chairman Michael Sly said: “Not only is it a great product, the sugar beet industry makes an important contribution to the rural economy and supports 9,500 jobs across Eastern England.
“What makes it even more frustrating is that Tesco has chosen to deny consumers the choice of buying home-grown sugar which is produced sustainably, benefitting both the economy and the environment alike.”
Tesco was invited to comment.