Supermarket support for Scottish lamb stronger than 2018
The biggest ever shelfwatch by NFU Scotland has revealed plentiful volumes of Scottish and UK lamb available, but ASDA has been found wanting. NFU Scotland members and staff have visited almost 60 Scottish supermarkets this week, to identify which retailers are supporting Scottish sheep farmers during peak season.
Its secret shoppers counted more than 3,000 packs of lamb on retailers’ shelves, to see which of the big supermarkets were sourcing the most Scottish and home-produced lamb.
The results, published by NFU Scotland, demonstrate that 51% of the lamb available was branded with the Scotch Lamb PGI (up from 45% at this time last year), with an additional 42% labelled as British (down from 44%).
Around 7% of lamb on shelves this year came from New Zealand, with 217 of the 220 imported packs of lamb found in Asda stores. NFU Scotland says that is deeply disappointing given that all its competitors have chosen to source Scottish and British lamb and, in Aldi and Lidl stores, lamb stocks were 100% Scotch Lamb PGI.
NFU Scotland’s Livestock Committee chairman Jimmy Ireland said: “These shelf watch results show that support for Scottish lamb producers is growing stronger, providing confidence to the sector at a time of great uncertainty.
“However, ASDA, once again, is way off the mark compared to competitors – no Scottish lamb on the shelves and one-third of its stocks imported. NFU Scotland will raise this issue directly with ASDA in the coming days.
“That is the one low point in a survey that showed rising support for Scottish lamb and the Scotch Lamb PGI – a trend that we will encourage all stores to continue.
“Shoppers who are looking to buy Scottish lamb, to support local farmers and the rural economy are also encouraged to visit their local butchers, who are often strong supporters of Scotch Lamb PGI.
“To build on this excellent platform, NFU Scotland is looking forward to the launch of Quality Meat Scotland’s new promotional campaign for Scotch Lamb PGI, Scotch Lamb Naturally, at the end of September with Love Lamb Week running from 1st September to 7th September.
“With Brexit on the horizon and the possibility of a ‘no deal’ departure from the European Union threatening our exports of lamb to the European Union, these results are encouraging as it is vitally important that we see Scottish shoppers and retailers supporting domestic food production.”