Supermarkets use ‘fake farms’ on labels to lure customers into buying own-brand chicken

TOP supermarkets are using quaint fictional locations to lure customers into buying their own-brand chicken, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.

High-street favourites have been accused of using “fake farm names and pictures” so shoppers think the meat comes from small-scale producers.

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High-street favourites were found to use ‘fake farm names and pictures’ so shoppers think the meat comes from small-scale producers[/caption]

But our probe has discovered many of the stores’ chickens have come from mega-farms.

Carina Millstone, of food campaign group Feedback, said: “Supermarkets are selling meat under fake farm names, encouraging consumers to believe it is sourced from small-scale producers.

“We need supermarkets to be honest and support small farms before it is too late.”

We visited Penrhos Farm, near Kington, Herefordshire, which sells birds to Cargill, one of two large suppliers previously used for Tesco’s Willow Farms brand.

Peter Powell Limited

WillowFarms’ logo has a plump bird in open space. In reality, Tesco has previously used large suppliers which buy from mega farms with tens of thousands of birds

Peter Powell Limited

Ashfield Farm is a label. Birds stocked by Aldi have previously come from Faccenda, which is supplied by places such as Cambria Farm, Somerset, where 100,000 birds are said to live[/caption]

Peter Powell Limited

None of M&S’s Oakham Chickens comes from anywhere called Oakham. One of its previous suppliers in Suffolk processes around 30,000 birds at a time[/caption]

Peter Powell Limited

Birchwood Farm is not a place. Lidl poultry has previously come from places like Stewkley Park Farm, near Wing, Bucks – a farm used by mega-supplier Faccenda.[/caption]

Peter Powell Limited

The Farm Stores brand stocked by Asda has a quaint picture of a small farm. But they have also previously taken chickens from Faccenda, which can process two million birds a week[/caption]

It has four sheds, each housing tens of thousands of chickens. A Tesco spokesman said: “The use of brand names is very prevalent across the big five.”

Lidl’s chicken is branded Birchwood Farm. In reality, up until April one of its sources was Stewkley Park Farm, Bucks.

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More than a fifth of small British farms have been lost in the past ten years and around 95 per cent of poultry is now bred at so-called mega-farms[/caption]

It keeps huge sheds with rows of around 30,000 chickens inside and supplies poultry giant Faccenda, which then sells to Lidl.

A Lidl spokesperson said meat meets “stringent animal welfare and food hygiene standards”.

Some of Asda’s standard whole chickens have also been provided by Faccenda, a far cry from its rustic Farm Stores brand.

An Asda spokesman said: “Farm Stores is a name that our customers remember from our heritage and trust for great value and quality.”

Faccenda has also supplied Aldi in the past. A spokesman said it has not taken chickens from the firm since April.

But its “Ashfield Farm” does not exist.

The chickens may have previously come from places such as Cambria Farm, near Taunton, Somerset, which has 100,000 birds in giant sheds.

Until last year some of M&S’s Oakham Chicken birds came from 2 Sisters Food Group.

We visited one of its sites in Suffolk, where more than 30,000 birds are processed.

M&S did not comment.

More than a fifth of small British farms have been lost in the past ten years and around 95 per cent of poultry is now bred at so-called mega-farms.