Supermarket Support for Scottish Lamb Stronger than 2018

Biggest ever shelfwatch finds plentiful volumes of Scottish and UK lamb available, but ASDA found wanting

In its biggest ever shelfwatch to date, 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 3000 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 today by NFU Scotland, demonstrate that 51 per cent of the lamb available was branded with the Scotch Lamb PGI (up from 45 percent at this time last year), with an additional 42 per cent labelled as British (down from 44 percent).  

Around seven percent of lamb on shelves this year came from New Zealand, with 217 of the 220 imported packs of lamb found in Asda stores.  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 percent 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 1 September to 7 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.”

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland’s shelf watch surveyed 58 supermarket stores across Scotland, looking at fresh lamb offerings. Results showed a 93 per cent commitment to lamb produced in Scotland and the UK. Overall, 3,027 packs of fresh lamb were counted.  The lamb shelf watch survey took place between 15 August and 26 August 2019 and secret shoppers counted lamb on shop aisles rather than shop butcher counters.
  • Images taken in several stores are attached.
  • In summary, the shelf watch findings were:
    • Aldi Total: 222 packs, Scottish: 222 (100%), British: 0, imported: 0 [stores visited: Gorgie Edinburgh, Johnstone, Inverurie, Anderson Drive Aberdeen, Beach Boulevard Aberdeen, Westhill, Livingston]
    • Asda Total: 634 packs, Scottish: 0, British: 417 (66%), imported: 217 (34%) [stores visited: Kilmarnock, Chesser Edinburgh, Linwood, Fraserburgh, Jesmond Drive Aberdeen, Dyce, Bridge of Dee Aberdeen, Portlethan, Huntly, Livingston]
    • Co-op Total: 108 packs, Scottish: 7 (6%), British: 101 (94%), imported: 0 [stores visited: Dalry Edinburgh, Turriff, Fyvie, Oldmeldrum, Newmachar, Dyce, New Deer, Strichen]
    • Lidl Total: 285 packs, Scottish: 285 (100%), British: 0, imported: 0 [Johnstone, Dalry Edinburgh, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Inverurie, Lang Stracht Aberdeen, Hutcheon Street Aberdeen, Bucksburn, Livingston]
    • Marks and Spencer Total: 92 packs, Scottish: 42 (46%), British: 50 (54%), imported: 0 [stores visited: Gyle Edinburgh, Inverurie, Dyce]
    • Morrisons Total: 470 packs, Scottish: 328 (70%), British: 142 (30%), imported: 0 [stores visited: Johnstone, Gyle Edinburgh, Peterhead, Inverurie, King Street Aberdeen, Livingston]
    • Sainsbury’s Total: 365 packs, Scottish: 199 (55%), British: 166 (45%), imported: 0 [stores visited: Murrayfield Edinburgh, Berryden Road Aberdeen, Bridge of Dee Aberdeen, Livingston]
    • Tesco Total: 727 packs, Scottish: 443 (61%), British: 281 (38.5%), imported: 3 (0.5%) [stores visited: Linwood, Corstorphine, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Turriff, Inverurie, Danestone Aberdeen, Huntly, Keith, Bathgate]
    • Waitrose Total: 124 packs, Scottish: 0, British: 124 (100%), imported: 0 [stores visited: Morningside Edinburgh]
  • Overall: 3,027 packs counted. Scottish: 1,526 (51%), British: 1,281 (42%), Imported: 220 (7%).  For the purposes of the survey, Welsh lamb was recorded as being British.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 122/19

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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