At long last the tide appears to have turned in favour of British agriculture, with the new owners of supermarket giant Asda, pledging to support UK farmers.

The commitment from billionaire brothers, Mohsin and Zuber Issa from Lancashire and private equity firm TDR Capital, arose when US owner, Walmart decided to sell its controlling stake of the chain.

The brothers, who have worked their way up from humble beginnings in a terraced house in Blackburn to build EG Group, a petrol station operator worth £9bn, have acquired a majority stake the retail chain in a deal worth £6.8bn.

The transaction, on a debt-free and cash-free basis means that for the first time in 20 years, Asda will return to a majority UK ownership.

However, it is subject to regulatory approvals which are expected to be completed in the first half of 2021. 

The good news is, the new owners have said they will source more food from UK farmers and will look to support domestic suppliers and small businesses.

Furthermore, they have plans to increase the amount of products and volumes of products such as chicken, dairy, wheat and potatoes sourced from UK-based suppliers, and, source 100% British beef.  

Mohsin and Zuber Issa said: “We are very proud to be investing in Asda, an iconic British business that we have admired for many years.

“Asda’s customer-centric philosophy, focus on operational excellence and commitment to the communities in which it operates are the same values that we have built EG Group on. Asda’s performance through the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the fundamental strength and resilience of the business.

“We believe that our experience with EG Group, including our expertise around convenience and brand partnerships and our successful partnership with TDR Capital, can help to accelerate and execute that growth strategy.

“After a successful period as part of Walmart, we are looking forward to helping Asda build a differentiated business that will continue to serve customers brilliantly in communities across the UK.”

The takeover comes at a time when Scotch beef and lamb sales through the supermarket giant are lower than any other retailer, with the latest figures from The Scottish Farmer’s Retail Radar again highlighting it’s poor support for farmers from North of the Border.

For the week commencing September 28, Scotch beef accounted for just 23% of the range and once again, Asda had no Scotch lamb on its shelves. Furthermore, some 54% of its lamb range was imported from New Zealand and Australia with 8% of its beef shipped in from Ireland.

This compares to the two biggest supporters of Scottish red meat, Aldi and Tesco, which for the same week, saw the vast majority of their range originate in Scotland.

At Aldi, 92% of beef products were Scotch, with the lamb range comprising 78% from Scotland, with all other products being British.

At Tesco for the same week, Scotch Beef accounted for 98% of the range with the rest identified as British, with 66% of the lamb originating from north of the Border. Disappointingly 6% of the lamb was imported from New Zealand with the remainder marked as British.


% of Scotch % of Non-Scotch Imports

Beef Nov-19 60% 40%

wc 28/9/20 61% 39% 2%

Lamb Nov-19 54% 46%

wc 28/9/20 51% 49% 12%

Percentage of range that is Scotch

Beef Lamb

Nov-19 wc 28/9/20 Nov-19 wc 28/9/20

Aldi 100% 92% 100% 78%

Asda 15% 23% 19% 0%

Co-op 67% 75% 67% 50%

Lidl 100% 80% 100% 50%

Morrisons 70% 62% 75% 70%

Sainsburys 15% 14% 57% 55%

Tesco 78% 98% 67% 66%