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In a bid to get the nation gobbling up turkey again, ASDA has exclusively joined forces with one of the UK’s most prestigious poultry farmers to reintroduce a traditional breed of turkey – The Extra Special Slate Blue - an exclusive breed from the 1800’s.  

 

ASDA's Agricultural Manager, Chris Brown looked into re-introducing the special breed, after 33% of ASDA customers said that they would be tucking into delicacies such as guinea fowl, duck and goose as an alternative to Turkey.  

 

ASDA have joined forces with suppliers, Traditional Norfolk Poultry to re-introduce the breed and help pull the Slate Blue from the critically rare list.  With as little as 50 breeding pairs left in the UK, the commercial breeding plan introduced through ASDA has increased the breeding flock considerably. 

 

Chris said, “Already we have increased the breeding population of this rare turkey breed seven fold. Customers buying our Extra Special Slate Blue Turkey, will not only enjoy an extremely tasty bird on Christmas day, but will help ensure the survival of an extremely rare breed.  The Blue Slate is sure to be a winner this Christmas, and we have already received over 350 enquiries about pre-orders to date.   

 

Mark Gorton, Director of Traditional Norfolk Poultry said, "We are absolutely delighted to be working with ASDA on this project, bringing a traditional Victorian breed of turkey offering for customers, whilst also ensuring the protection of the species for years to come." 

 

Hatched in May this year, ASDA’s exclusive Slate Blue birds are raised free range in a natural environment, fed on an organic grain and are able to fly into surrounding trees.  This form of natural exercise allows for the traditional trim shape of the bird and produces a rich flavour and texture. 

 

 ASDA is confident that turkey sales will be back on top of the Poultry Poll for 2006/7 with a predicted 23% sales increase this year compared to last year (from 4th December and the 24th December). 

Posted in Press Centre on 20 December 2006
Press Centre

ASDA today (Friday, 15 December 2006) launched a campaign backing British free range egg producers and calling on other UK supermarkets, whom it is dubbing the dirty dozen*, to not sell 'lower quality' imported eggs that do not carry the Lion mark.

All ASDA free range eggs are from the UK and clearly display the Lion mark for food safety and welfare standards. This guarantees all its free range hens have been vaccinated against salmonella - something that cannot be guaranteed on imported eggs.

ASDA has pledged that it won't sell any eggs sourced from abroad in either its own label range of eggs or branded range of eggs and has challenged its rivals to do the same. Currently only Waitrose, M&S and ASDA are in a position to make this clear commitment*.

Over the next three years all ASDA's free range eggs will be supplied by a group of dedicated farmers - similar to the group of dedicated dairy farmers who already supply all its milk.

The supermarket recently launched a range of eco-friendly free range eggs called Respectful, which come from hens reared from local chicks, fed on locally milled wheat. The eggs are produced in a low carbon way, all the sheds are powered by solar panels, wind turbines and bio-diesel, and are placed on special runners so that the sheds can be easily moved around the free range pastures.

Egg buyer Hannah Naseem said: "It's a clucking disgrace that the dirty dozen are prepared to turn their backs on British free range eggs and opt for 'cheep, cheap' imports. We're calling on them to follow our lead and commit to only buying British free range eggs instead of getting them from countries that don't carry the Lion mark of quality."

John Widdowson, Vice Chairman of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association said: "We want to see all retailers supporting British free range egg producers. There needs to be a much closer relationship between farmers and retailers to ensure foreign free range eggs are no longer imported to the UK. There is no reason why British farmers can't supply all of the free range eggs consumers want to buy - but they need supermarkets to invest here in the UK, not abroad."

This follows the lead that ASDA set the industry when it released 500,000 laying hens from battery cages into open barns, dramatically changing the way in which it sources its own label, fresh eggs.

Posted in Press Centre on 15 December 2006
Press Centre

Phil Wynn Owen, a director general at the Department for Work and Pensions, presented ASDA's people director, David Smith, with an Age Positive Employer Champion certificate, recognising ASDA's continued good practice on age diversity, when he visited the supermarket's head office in Leeds on Friday (1st December).    

During the visit, discussion took place around the challenges of a mixed age workforce and employment practices, as well as innovations which encourage age diversity and the recruitment, retention and development of older workers.   

David Smith, ASDA's people director, said: "We were delighted to host the DWP's director general at our head office and talk to him about how we put age diversity into practice. 

 

 

"We've always been really proud of the fact that we have such a diverse workforce with colleagues as young as 16, whilst others are in their 80's. We're in no doubt that this benefits everyone, especially our customers. 

 

"We've understood for many years now that an older workforce offers maturity, commitment and knowledge, which our customers value. 

 

 

"Over the years, we've found that some of our best colleagues are also some of our oldest, with loads of experience to share with younger colleagues – they make a massive difference to our stores."   

 

ASDA is one of the UK’s biggest private sector employers of the over 50s, with more than 30,000 older workers amongst its colleagues. 

 

Not only has the supermarket embraced the new age discrimination legislation that came into force in October, but it also has policies in place going beyond the legislation with no official retirement age and no age limit for recruitment.   

In addition, ASDA no longer asks people applying for a job at any of its 313 stores across the UK to give their date of birth on their application form, reinforcing the fact that age does not play any part in its recruitment process. 

The Age Positive campaign is run by the Department for Work and Pensions, promoting the benefits of employing a mixed-age workforce including older and younger people, and encouraging employers to make decisions about recruitment, training and retention that do not discriminate against someone because of their age. 

 

ASDA has been an Age Positive Employer Champion since 2000.

Posted in Press Centre on 04 December 2006