Union Encouraged by Improvement in Supermarket Support for Scottish Lamb

NFU Scotland secret shoppers find majority of supermarkets stocking home-produced lamb as part of Easter Lamb Shelf Watch

NFU Scotland’s secret shoppers have examined over 3000 packs of lamb on Scottish supermarket shelves in recent days and are delighted to find almost 80 percent are Scottish or British – a marked improvement on Easter 2017.

Over the last week, NFU Scotland members and staff have carried out a shelf watch to identify the amounts of Scottish lamb on Scottish supermarket shelves. This comes while many Scottish sheep farmers are hard at work in lambing sheds across the country as the new crop of lambs are born.

The secret shoppers, when counting packs of chilled lamb in stores across the country, have found many retailers are giving shoppers the opportunity to buy Scottish lamb ahead of the Easter weekend.

The Union’s shelf watch has indicated that shoppers should be able to find Scottish lamb available in most major supermarket chains.  However, disappointed secret shoppers found no Scottish lamb identified in the aisles of Asda and Waitrose stores visited.

After counting 3,032 packs of fresh lamb, in almost 50 stores, the union identified that almost 77 per cent (2,343 packs) were found to be labelled as Scottish or British. This is a significant increase over last Easter when only 44 per cent of packs were found to be produced in the UK.

Having previously made commitments to go 100 per cent home-produced in Scotland, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Aldi and Co-op were found to be honouring their commitment other than nominal volumes of organic New Zealand lamb found in Marks & Spencer stores.

Commenting on the results, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “With Scotland’s sheep producers approaching peak lambing season, it is a boost to see Scottish retailers bolstering their support for Scottish produce.
“Today’s results back up our belief that the season for home-produced lamb availability could be extended with retailer support, and we recognise the efforts being made by Aldi, Co-op, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons.

“It is disappointing however to see Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest retailer, stocking more than 50 per cent imported product, and it’s also disappointing to see no lamb labelled as Scottish available in any of the ASDA stores visited.

“We will continue to work with retailers to see what more can be done to support domestic food, and we will ask them to work with us to secure necessary farm support following Brexit to allow sustainable food production.”

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland’s shelf watch surveyed 48 supermarket stores, across Scotland, looking at fresh lamb offerings. Results showed a 78% commitment to lamb produced in the UK. Overall, 3032 packs of fresh lamb were counted.
  • The NFUS lamb shelfwatch survey took place between 20 and 27 March 2018.  In summary, the shelf watch findings were:
  • Overall – Total Number of packs: 3,032 (Home-produced: 2,343 [77%], Scottish: 1,253 [41%], British 1,090 [36%], Imported: 689 [23%]. Total stores visited: 47.
  • Aldi – Total number of packs: 247 (Scottish: 238 [96%], British:9 [4%]).  Stores visited: Inveralmond Perth, Anderston Drive Aberdeen, Westhill, Hunters Tryst and Beach Boulevard.
  • Asda – Total number of packs: 716 (Scottish: 0 [0%], British: 494 [69%], New Zealand: 222 [31%]).  Stores visited: Perth, Bridge of Don, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Dyce, Portlethen, Bridge of Dee, Linwood and Huntly.
  • Co-op – Total number of packs: 170 (Scottish: 16 [10%], British: 154 [90%]).  Stores visited: Turriff, Newmachar, Fraserburgh, Fyvie, Dyce, Oldmeldrum, Bridge of Weir and Alford.
  • Lidl – Total number of packs: 90 (Scottish: 63 [70%], British: 3 [3%] New Zealand: 24 [27%]).  Stores Visited: Peterhead, Inverurie, Leith and Forfar.
  • Marks & Spencer – Total number of packs: 219 (Scottish: 177 [81%], British: 34 [15.5%], New Zealand Organic: 8 [3.5%]).  Stores visited: Perth, Gyle Edinburgh and Falkirk.
  • Morrisons – Total number of packs: 562 (Scottish: 368 [65%], British: 194 [35%]).  Stores visited: Gyle Edinburgh, Dunoon, Aberdeen, Peterhead, Inverurie and Johnstone.
  • Sainsbury’s – Total number of packs: 145 (Scottish: 29 [20%], British: 32 [22%], New Zealand: 84 [58%]).  Stores visited: Murrayfield and Irvine Riverway.
  • Tesco – Total number of packs: 781 (Scottish: 362 [46%], British: 164 [21%], New Zealand: 255 [33%]).  Stores visited: Irvine Riverway, Corstorphine, Danestone, Turriff, Fraserburgh, Inverurie, Linwood, Huntly, Leith and Blairgowrie.
  • Waitrose – Total number of packs: 102 (British: 6 [6%] New Zealand: 96 [94%]).  Stores visited: Morningside.

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 45/18

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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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