Union’s Campaign Gets More Scottish Lamb on Shelves

Retailers responding to season extension requests

As a result of work by NFU Scotland, more Scottish and British lamb is making its way onto retailers’ shelves.

A number of supermarkets have been staunch supporters of Scottish and British farmers, stocking their shelves all year round with home produced lamb.

However, others traditionally switched to bringing in imported lamb in spring and early summer.  The Union has been encouraging those retailers to consider extending the season for Scottish or British product.  The Union made the point that a few weeks at the start or end of their normal season for buying home produced lamb would make a significant difference to the sheep sector.

Retailers Aldi and Lidl remain committed to exclusively stocking Scottish lamb, with Morrisons also selling home produced lamb all year round.

The good news for Scottish sheep producers is that others are now pushing forward with their commitment to selling and sourcing more Scottish and British lamb.

Marks and Spencer sold early new season lamb in UK stores over the Easter period, and they are expecting a new season changeover from imported to home produced in the first week of June.  That honours a commitment made, following discussions with NFUS, to extend the period in which they sell British lamb.

The Co-operative is also extending the season for domestic lamb, now aiming to start stocking in mid-June, and Sainsbury’s began stocking new season home produced lamb in late March, with the beginning of July marking the period that it will be sourcing 100 percent domestic.

The Union remains in dialogue with the UK’s biggest retailer, Tesco, about how it can better support Scottish sheep producers through its sourcing policy although there is no change to report at this time.

Livestock Chairman Charlie Adam said: “It is a tribute to the hard work of Scottish sheep farmers that we are starting to grow the home market for Scottish lamb by extending the domestic lamb season.

“Because of the fantastic story we have to tell about Scottish lamb, our members have shown a willingness to work with supermarkets, restaurants and butchers to grow demand.  The activity the Union has undertaken both through tasting sessions outside stores and shops, getting lamb onto menus and behind the scenes with retailers is starting to pay dividends.

“There is positive progress and while the farming industry strives to increase sales of succulent Scottish lamb through all outlets, it is welcome that it is now appearing on more supermarket shelves for more weeks in the year.

“Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons and a great many local butchers show what can be achieved in terms of supporting Scottish sheep producers throughout the whole year. Others are starting to respond and we will continue to work with all retailers to see what can be done to increase their domestic lamb offering.”

Notes to Editors

NFU Scotland has been working with major retailers to increase the offering of Scottish and British lamb in their stores.  The following provides a summary of progress.

  • Aldi - Aldi will continue their commitment to Scottish Lamb and will stock 100 percent Scottish year round.
  • Asda - Majority of lines will be British/Scottish by early-mid July, no exclusive period.
  • The Co-operative Food – Moved to exclusively to imported lamb in late January, which was three weeks later than in 2015, and will be exclusively British/Scottish from the mid-June.
  • Lidl - Exclusively 100 percent Scottish all year round in Scottish stores.
  • Marks and Spencer - Home produced lamb in store from the first week of June – a marked improvement from previous years with potential to extend further next year.  Also assessing feasibility to have all year round home produced lamb. Also offered early New Season British lamb for customers in Easter, which was in store from 21 March 2016.
  • Morrisons - Vast majority all year round is already British/Scottish. 
  • Sainsbury’s - Sourcing 100 percent British/Scottish from July 1 and the proportion of British/Scottish in store will begin to lift through May and June having started taking new season British lamb in late March.
  • Tesco – Discussions are ongoing.
  • Waitrose – Discussions are ongoing.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 122/16

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