When a farmer’s daughter penned a letter criticising a Tesco advert promoting meat-free sausages we doubt she would have expected the social media storm that followed.
A seven-year-old was inspired to write to Farmers Guardian after watching a Tesco advert promoting vegetarianism, claiming her dad ‘works very hard and cares a lot about his cows’.
In the supermarket advert a girl says, ‘Daddy, I don’t want to eat animals anymore’. Her father then cooks a casserole using vegetarian Cumberlands as an alternative to his usual sausages and says, ‘I bloomin’ love my meat, but not as much as I love my little girl’.
The youngster’s letter was shared on the Farmers Guardian Facebook page where it has been seen by 1.4 million people and received more than 11,000 shares.
‘I think the little girl in your advert needs to visit a farm and learn about all the welfare standards used and nutritional benefits of eating British meat,’ it said. ‘My daddy works very hard and cares a lot about his cows — your advert should be supporting British farming’.
The post has received more than 1,000 comments in support of her response, and the Farmers Guardian said they ‘agree totally’.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has also criticised the advert, claiming it ‘demonises meat’ and damages the reputation of British farmers.
The NFU has written to Tesco to raise its members’ concerns surrounding the language used in the advert, claiming it has caused ‘significant distress’ for British Farmers.
‘The NFU believes that messaging such as this is demonising meat as a food group, which not only has negative connotations for farmers but also for the avocation of customers eating a healthy balanced diet,’ said an NFU spokesman.
‘The NFU is clear that food and nutrition must be looked at as a whole, rather than food groups in isolation. Meat as a food group provides naturally rich in protein and are a good source of iron, zinc and essential vitamins.
‘We believe it is vital that children do not establish misleading views of food groups, which may later affect their health and diets.’
A Tesco spokesperson told The Independent that its ‘Our Food Love Stories’ celebrate recipes both with meat and without.
‘For those customers who tell us they are looking to eat a little less meat, our Plant Chef range offers a delicious, affordable alternative,’ he said. ‘Our aim is always to offer choice. We remain absolutely committed to working in partnership with all our UK farmers, and we value the vital role they play in providing food for our customers.’
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