Scottish Beef in Good Supply at Major Supermarkets

NFU Scotland secret shoppers studied supermarket shelves across the country to identify the strongest supporters of Scottish beef

Over a two week period NFU Scotland staff and members have been in some of Scotland’s most popular supermarket chains to get a snapshot of the amount of home-produced beef available over imported beef.

Secret shoppers found that 94 per cent of the beef available across the supermarkets visited was labelled either as British or Scottish, with 61 per cent of packs labelled explicitly as Scottish or Scotch Beef PGI.

Almost 96 per cent of packs counted in Aldi stores were explicitly Scottish while 88 per cent of packs in Lidl stores were labelled as Scottish or Scotch.

In the stores of the nation’s biggest retailer Tesco 90 per cent of beef counted was labelled as Scotch, demonstrating strong support from the country’s largest food retailer.

However, volumes of non-UK beef in both Sainsbury’s and ASDA were significant, with almost one in every 10 packs counted coming from outside the UK. Members also reported co-mingling of home-produced and imported beef in these retailers, making it harder for shoppers to identify and buy home-produced beef.

Commenting on the shelf watch results NFU Scotland Livestock Committee Chairman Jimmy Ireland, a beef farmer near Darvel, said: “Today’s results are really encouraging for Scottish farmers and crofters. In Scotland we are gifted with heavy rainfall and great grass growth, allowing us to sustainably produce top quality beef while supporting a healthy environment.

“Shoppers should be confident that the majority of their local retailers stock Scottish beef in good quantities, meaning that they can rest assured that they are supporting their local farmers when they are making their home-made steak pies, beef curries and burgers.

“It is National Butchers Week this week so shoppers are reminded they can also find Scottish beef readily available at their local butchers and farm shops, which are always strong supporters of domestic food production.

“Morrisons, Co-op, Aldi, Marks & Spencer, Lidl and Waitrose must be recognised for stocking 100 per cent home-produced beef while Tesco is knocking on the door at 99 per cent home-produced beef, with 90 per cent labelled as Scotch. We do however need to see ASDA and Sainsbury’s improve their performance by increasing domestic sourcing.

“Scotland’s farmers and crofters are very proud of their high standards of production and our ability to feed the nation despite the challenges of the tumultuous Scottish weather and political uncertainty.”

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland’s shelf watch surveyed a total of 31 supermarket stores, across Scotland, looking at fresh beef offerings. Shelf watch results demonstrated a 94 per cent commitment to beef produced in the UK. Overall 8,197 packs of fresh beef were counted.
  • Quality Meat Scotland’s ‘Know your Beef’ annual marketing campaign is currently underway to promote Scotch Beef PGI.
  • The NFU Scotland beef shelf watch survey took place between 27 February and 12 March 2019
  • In summary, the shelf watch findings were:
    • Aldi – Total number of packs: 1292 (Scottish: 1240, British: 52). Stores visited: Peterhead, Dalry (Edinburgh), Irvine, Beach Boulevard (Aberdeen) and Inverurie.
    • ASDA – Total number of packs: 1623 (Scottish: 515, British: 651, Irish: 457). Stores visited: Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Beach Boulevard (Aberdeen), Jesmond Road (Aberdeen) and Kilmarnock.
    • Co-op – Total number of packs: 202 packs (Scottish: 136, British: 66). Stores visited: Kilmacolm, Newmachar, Gorgie (Edinburgh) and Darvel.
    • Lidl – Total number of packs: 639 (Scottish: 561, British: 78). Stores visited: Fraserburgh, Gorgie (Edinburgh), King Street (Aberdeen) and Inverurie.
    • Marks & Spencer – Total number of packs: 226 (Scottish: 112, British: 114). Stores visited: Gyle (Edinburgh).
    • Morrisons – Total number of packs: 2118 (Scottish: 1217, British: 901). Stores visited: Peterhead, Gyle (Edinburgh), King Street (Aberdeen), Inverurie and Kilmarnock.
    • Sainsbury’s – Total number of packs: 596 (Scottish: 144, British: 406, Irish: 46). Stores visited: Murrayfield (Edinburgh) and Linlithgow.
    • Tesco – Total number of packs: 1180 (Scottish: 1060, British: 108, Irish: 12). Stores Visited: Fraserburgh, Turriff, Danestone and Inverurie.
    • Waitrose – Total number of packs: 321 (British: 321). Stores visited: Morningside (Edinburgh)


Contact Douglas Ross on 0131 472 4059

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 35/19

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