Love Lamb Week returns for 2023
Meat industry bodies are gearing up to promote Love Lamb Week, a weeklong initiative aiming to highlight the versatility of lamb and its nutritional credentials.
The annual Love Lamb Week, which begins Friday 1st September, celebrates UK lamb and the sustainable farming methods that produce it.
British Heritage Sheep, a scheme that celebrates the contrasting tastes and provenance of native UK sheep breeds, is encouraging UK consumers to enjoy the varied qualities of native breed sheep meat, while highlighting the wider benefits they bring to the countryside.
Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association (NSA) and advocate of British Heritage Sheep, said: “Love Lamb Week is a great opportunity to champion the UK sheep sector and that includes promoting the delicious product of some of the UK’s native and lesser-known breeds, and the special eating qualities they can offer consumers.”
NSA said that – across the UK – local farm shops, butchers and farms offering direct sales can be a good option for consumers looking to source meat from native breeds.
“Sheep meat is one of the last undifferentiated foods.”Bob Kennard, British Heritage Sheep.
Bob Kennard, one of the British Heritage Sheep directors, added: “Not all sheep meat tastes the same, the difference in flavour is very much evident between some breeds such as the iconic Herdwick that grazes the famous Lake District fells and the historic Ryeland of Herefordshire, one of the oldest of the established native breeds. The main factors affecting the flavour are the age of the animal, its breed and to some extent what the animal eats. These factors give the meat of different breeds distinctive eating experiences, highly prized in past generations.”
Despite more than 80 native and other sheep breeds being recognised in the UK, the varied flavours and diverse landscapes from which they are produced are rarely identified to consumers when purchasing or consuming lamb.
Kennard continued: “Sheep meat is one of the last undifferentiated foods. We all know about the many types of cheese, apples, breeds of beef and so on, but retailers rarely inform consumers about the breed of sheep meat, nor do they explain where and how it was reared, nor offer meat of differing ages.”
LMC and UFU work to positively profile lamb
The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) has partnered with Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) to promote Love Lamb Week, hosting a lamb sampling event and raising awareness of the sustainability of sheep farming.
“We are delighted to once again partner with the UFU to promote Love Lamb Week,” said LMC chief executive, Ian Stevenson. He added: “LMC has been an avid supporter of Love Lamb Week since its launch in 2015. This year we have a jam-packed line up for Love Lamb Week and we are looking forward to positively profiling NIFQA lamb via sampling events, a radio partnership, press and digital activity.”
UFU deputy president John McLenaghan said: “Love Lamb Week is a great opportunity for us to meet members of the general public and to focus on all the positives of lamb production from beginning to end. Sheep production is a key contributor to the local community and wider Northern Ireland (NI) economy for various reasons. It’s a delicious product produced to some of the highest standards in the world, it ticks all the boxes for quality and is one of the ways in which farmers manage the countryside, playing an important role in shaping our environment.”