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Tempting Scottish shoppers to tasty Scotch lamb

Scotland’s farmers are calling on the Scottish public to take the lamb taste test and rediscover what a fantastic, versatile, tasty meat Scotch lamb is.
 
These are difficult times for Scotland’s sheep producers – prices for lamb are at a six year low - but by tempting more Scottish consumers to try locally-produced Scotch lamb, farmers are looking to reinvigorate consumption of this wonderful product.
 
Farmers are taking the initiative straight to their customers. This Saturday (22 August) North East farmers will be at the Aldi store in Inverurie, with lamb steaks and burgers on the menu for shoppers to try.
 
On Sunday (23 August) there will be more promotional activity from farmers on Buchanan Street in Glasgow. From noon to 2pm they will be showcasing a range of Scottish and British produce, including lamb and dairy.
 
This all builds on the great work being done by the industry’s annual ‘Wham Bam Thank You Lamb’ campaign currently running on TV, radio and in newspapers.  That activity reaches a peak with the ‘Love Scotch lamb’ weekend on 5 and 6 September when the Scottish public is being invited to join farmers, butchers and chefs around the country to celebrate all that is wonderful about Scotch lamb.
 
Keen not to miss out on the great taste of Scotch lamb, NFU Scotland’s board put barbequed lamb cutlets and Scotch mutton pies on the menu for their meeting at NFUS HQ near Edinburgh today.
 
Speaking ahead of the meeting, NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “The Scottish public are our greatest asset when it comes to backing Scottish food and farmers.
 
“Scotch lamb is the tastiest in the world and Scottish farmers, quite rightly, want to go out there and tell Scottish consumers – whether in a supermarket, a butcher’s shop or a restaurant - about the quality of their produce.
 
“Farmers are being hit hard by falling prices but they are taking the initiative, have complete faith in all the food they produce and are getting around the country to speak to shoppers this weekend. They will be out again in a few weeks’ time, making sure as many consumers as possible hear the story we have to tell about Scotch lamb.
 
“That work will complement the two-month long ‘Wham Bam Thank You Lamb!’ currently running on TV, radio and in the papers.  This year’s campaign is set to reach more than 90 percent of Scottish adults and looks to build on last year’s very successful run which boosted sales of lamb in Scotland by 11 percent. 
 
“By acting as ‘lambassadors’, and supporting the activities planned around the ‘Love Scotch Lamb Weekend’ on 5 and 6 September, farmers themselves are playing their part in efforts to drive consumption, obtain a longer lasting commitment from supermarkets and caterers to Scotch lamb and secure fairer returns back to farmers and crofters for the work that goes in to putting Scotch lamb on our plates.”  Ends
 
Notes to Editors
For a photo of NFU Scotland Board members tucking in to tasty lamb cutlets in support of the ‘Wham Bam Thank You Lamb!’ campaign, contact media@nfus.org.uk
 
Tomorrow (Saturday 22 August) North East farmers are hosting an event at Aldi in Inverurie between 9.30am and 12.30pm giving out samples of lamb steaks and burgers to the public. For further information call Charlie Adam on 07761 290131 or Lorna Paterson on 07786 860453
 
 
This Sunday (23 August) there will be promotional activity on Buchanan Street in Glasgow. From noon to 2pm farmers will be showcasing Scottish and British produce and speaking to consumers encouraging them to support farmers. If you would like further information please contact Christine Cuthbertson on 07775 838 926 or Bryce Cunningham on 07854 327087.
 
Working with more than 200 branch monitors across Scotland, NFU Scotland’s Livestock Committee has established a seven-point action plan to boost the Scottish lamb market.  The plan includes:
 
 
Lobby supermarkets to support lamb. NFUS spent the Highland Show lobbying supermarkets to get more lamb into shoppers’ baskets.  Along with other UK unions, NFUS has asked to meet with the CEOs of all major supermarkets to discuss the food supply chain.
 
Lobbying supermarkets and the food processing sector to pay a fair price for lamb and not to take advantage of the disruption to European trade caused by the strong pound and French protests.
 
 
Speaking to shoppers about lamb. This year NFUS will once be promoting lamb and the sheep industry directly to the public. This coincides with Scotland’s peak lamb production in August. This year we hope to again cover much of the country, speaking to consumers at flower shows, supermarkets, and high streets offering a free taste of lamb. No-one else can speak with as much passion and authenticity about lamb as the person who produced it (seven days a week in all weathers). This year QMS is running the Scotch Lamb PGI advertising campaign targeting 3.7 million people in August and September. NFUS will be involved and events are planned in Aberdeenshire, Argyll, the Borders, Forth and Clyde involving retailers and restaurants.
 
Challenging the volumes of foreign lamb on shelves. NFUS have met retailers and processors to call for a reduced season of New Zealand/Australian product on the shelves. Ideally Scottish farmers would offer Scotch lamb 12 months a year. However New Zealand lamb has been in Scottish shopping baskets for more than 100 years. Therefore calling for an outright ban is unlikely to work. To get real change, we are asking retailers for two weeks longer buying Scotch in the winter and for them to come into the lamb market two weeks earlier in the spring. There is no excuse for supermarkets to stock New Zealand or Australian for six months a year.
 
Debating increased promotion. The August and September Scotch lamb promotion last year saw sales go up by 11% during that period. The QMS campaign involved billboards, radio, newspapers and social media. The livestock committee is debating whether a longer campaign, or a fresh campaign in the spring would have a bigger impact on Scotch lamb consumption. Importantly, they will consider how this could be funded.
 
Improving Scottish sheep breeding. NFUS is also looking at the long term prospects for the sheep industry in Scotland. We are working with SRUC and QMS to set up a breeding project to improve the national flock. The aspiration is to provide farmers with the tools to breed better sheep. 
 
Encouraging the public sector to buy more lamb. NFUS has been meeting Scottish Government officials to encourage more lamb on the menu. Lamb is a healthy meat and ideal for pupils in schools and NHS patients. A recent study showed 79% of lamb in Local Authorities is Scottish and 100% is Scottish in NHS Scotland.
 
Lamb shelf watch. NFUS are regularly watching shelves to see which supermarkets are backing Scotch/British lamb and which ones are stocking foreign product. We use this information to highlight to the public where to buy their lamb if they want to support local farmers. Morrison’s, Lidl and Aldi consistently stock only our lamb whilst others don’t give us their exclusive support. We feel that the public need to be made aware of where to buy their lamb before they arrive at the supermarket having to check labels.
 
For more information contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 155/15


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