Supermarket Support for Scottish Lamb Strong but Some Retailers Urged to Improve

Plentiful volumes of Scottish lamb available, but ASDA, The Co-operative and Waitrose found wanting with none available on shop aisles

NFU Scotland members and staff have been carrying out a shelf watch in over 50 Scottish supermarkets this week, to identify which retailers are doing their part to support Scottish sheep farmers during peak production season.

Secret shoppers counted over 2,500 packs of Scottish lamb, identifying which of the big supermarkets were sourcing the most Scottish and home-produced lamb.

The results come a day before the Lairg store lamb sale, one of the largest one-day sales of sheep in Europe. The results, published today by NFU Scotland, demonstrate that almost 45 per cent of the lamb available was branded with the Scotch Lamb PGI, with an additional 44 per cent labelled as British or Welsh.

This comes a week after the announcement from Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, that the Scottish Government is to commit to spend an additional £200,000 on Scotch Lamb PGI promotion.

The results notably demonstrate that the supermarket chain ASDA continue to stock significant volumes (40 per cent) of imported lamb, where many of its competitors have chosen to source Scottish and British lamb exclusively.

NFU Scotland’s Livestock Committee Chairman Charlie Adam said: “These shelf watch results show that support for Scottish and UK lamb producers is strong from a number of retailers, providing confidence to the sector. Indeed, six out of the nine supermarket chains that we visited were stocking only lamb produced in Scotland or the UK.  

“While the majority of the lamb was home-produced it was disappointing to see that ASDA, The Co-operative and Waitrose had no lamb labelled as Scottish available. In particular ASDA is way off the mark with competitors – stocking hundreds of packs of imported lamb at a time when Scottish lamb producers are busy finishing their stock. NFU Scotland will raise this issue directly with ASDA in the coming days.

“The majority of lamb in the Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi stores however was labelled as Scotch Lamb PGI, giving the sector reason to be encouraged despite the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit.

“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 Scottish lamb.

“The First Minister’s funding announcement from last week for additional promotion of Scotch Lamb PGI is very welcome. Lamb producers know the versatility and uniqueness of lamb as a source of nutrition. NFU Scotland is looking forward to the launch of Quality Meat Scotland’s new promotional campaign for Scotch Lamb PGI.”

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland’s shelf watch surveyed 52 supermarket stores across Scotland, looking at fresh lamb offerings. Results showed an 89 per cent commitment to lamb produced in Scotland and the UK. Overall, 2,686 packs of fresh lamb were counted.  The lamb shelf watch survey took place between 1 and 10 August 2018 and secret shoppers counted lamb on shop aisles rather than shop butcher counters.
  • Images from the shelf watch are available by request from 
  • In summary, the shelf watch findings were:
    • Aldi – Total number of packs: 219 – Scottish: 219 [100 per cent]. Stores visited: Portobello (Edinburgh), Anderson Drive (Aberdeen), Beach Boulevard (Aberdeen), Inverurie, Westhill.
    • Asda – Total number of packs: 598 – Scottish: 0, British: 358 [60 per cent], New Zealand: 240 [40 per cent]. Stores visited: Chesser (Edinburgh), Healthfield (Ayr), Bridge of Dee (Aberdeen), Beach Boulevard (Aberdeen), Jesmond Road (Aberdeen), Portlethen, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Huntly.  
    • The Co-operative – Total number of packs: 125 – Scottish: 0, British: 125 [100 per cent]. Stores visited: Lothian Road (Edinburgh), Dyce, Newmachar, Turriff, Fyvie, Oldmeldrum, Inverurie, Fraserburgh, Aberchirder.
    • Lidl – Total number of packs: 96 – Scottish: 96 [100 per cent]. Stores visited: Slatedford Road (Edinburgh), Lang Stacht (Aberdeen), Dyce, Inverurie, Fraserburgh.
    • Marks and Spencer – Total number of packs: 155 - Scottish: 40 [26 per cent], British/Welsh: 115 [74 per cent]. Stores visited: Heathfield (Ayr), Gyle (Edinburgh), Dyce, Inverurie, Westhill.
    • Morrisons – Total number of packs: 364 – Scottish: 265 [73 per cent], British: 99 [27 per cent]. Stores visited: St Andrews, Gyle (Edinburgh), Inverurie, Peterhead, Dumfries. 
    • Sainsburys – Total number of packs: 333 - Scottish: 187 [56 per cent], British: 146 [44 per cent]. Stored visited: Meadowbank (Edinburgh), Bridge of Dee (Aberdeen), Berryden Road (Aberdeen).
    • Tesco – Total number of packs: 680 – Scottish: 403 [59 per cent], British: 233 [34 per cent], New Zealand: 44 [seven per cent]. Stores visited: Corstorphine (Edinburgh), Danestone (Aberdeen), Turriff, Inverurie, Portlethen, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Keith, Dumfries. 
    • Waitrose – Total number of packs: 106 - Scotch: 0, British/Welsh: 106 [100 per cent]. Stores visited: Morningside (Edinburgh).


Contact Douglas Ross on 0131 472 4059

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 113/18

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About The Author

Douglas Ross

As a graduate in Multimedia Journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University, NFU Scotland’s Communications Assistant Douglas Ross understands how important the media is for communicating with members. As the son of a Highlands farmer, Douglas has been involved in the industry his entire life before joining NFU Scotland in 2017.

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