Supermarkets urged to support Scottish lamb at Easter
NFU Scotland has written to all major supermarkets, asking them to commit to supporting the Scottish sheep sector by stocking the highest volumes of Scottish produce possible.
Last Easter, an NFU Scotland shelfwatch found that two-thirds of the lamb offered on supermarket shelves was Scottish or British.
However, in some stores, the percentage of imported lamb on shelves was well over 50% and as high as 98%.
In the letter to retailers, the NFU Scotland has asked all supermarkets to provide information on what volumes of imported lamb they are likely to stock in the next few weeks as we approach Easter.
It also urged its members to keep an eye on shop shelves and inform NFU Scotland on the amounts of Scottish lamb being offered.
The union believes that the figures for home-produced lamb can be “significantly improved” by greater retailer support and has, for the last two years, been working with retailers who stock imported lamb to increase their offering or extend the season for buying Scottish and British lamb before turning to imports.
Despite Scottish lamb production falling towards the start of spring, Scottish farmers believe that there is more than enough lamb to fill Scottish store shelves and meet the year-round demand from Scottish shoppers for local, tasty home-produced lamb.
NFU Scotland president, Andrew McCornick, commented: “Scotland has the ability to produce high quality lamb all year round. That is something that some retailers already support with a 100% commitment to Scottish or British lamb on their shelves throughout the year.
“However, last Easter, there was frustration and anger amongst Scottish sheep farmers when some retailers were found to be stocking up to 98 percent imported produce.”
He added that some retailers, including Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons, Co-op and Marks and Spencer, are “staunch supporters” showing others what can be achieved.
He continued: “As well as working with supermarkets to increase the amount of our lamb on shop shelves, we also want to see what we can do collectively to increase lamb consumption in Scotland and we look forward to working with supermarkets to achieve this in the future, building on Scottish lamb promotions and the many lamb tastings that NFUS and others have held around the country in recent years.”