Call for Supermarket Commitment to Scottish Lamb

Union writes to all major retailers ahead of Easter

NFU Scotland has written to all major supermarkets asking them to commit to offering tasty Scottish lamb this Easter.

Easter is a hugely important time for sales of lamb, with many traditionally celebrating with a roast at family meals. While Scottish lamb production falls 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.  

The Union has written to all retailers calling on them to support the Scottish sheep sector by stocking the highest volumes of Scottish produce possible.

Last Easter (March 2017), 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 percent and as high as 98 percent.

NFU Scotland 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.

In the letter to retailers, the Union 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 urges its members to keep an eye on shop shelves and let NFUS know both good news and bad news on the amounts of Scottish lamb being offered.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “Scotland has the ability to produce high quality lamb all year round.  That is something that some retailers already support with a 100 per cent 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.

“As Scotland’s sheep farmers gear up for lambing, a strong signal from supermarkets that they are backing Scottish lamb would be very welcome.

“Some retailers – Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons, Co-op and Marks and Spencer – are staunch supporters, showing others – Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Waitrose - what can be achieved.

“Our farmers and crofters are working hard to produce the tastiest lamb with world leading welfare, environmental, quality and health standards but without the food miles of produce shipped from the other side of the world.  That is something that the Scottish public value and we want all supermarkets to commit to supplying Scottish lamb this Easter.

“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.”  


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 29/18

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