National Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS) has expressed its concern over Tesco and Asda’s lack of support for Scottish lamb.
The call was made after it became evident that levels of import were “disappointing” in the two major supermarkets, despite Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s fully supporting Scottish or British lamb.
NFUS has explained that the new lamb season is currently peaking, which is why it is so crucial that the retailers show their support.
NFUS president Nigel Miller explained that retailers were “key to a successful season” for Scottish lamb. He explained that the new Scotch lamb promotional campaign, entitled ‘Wham, Bam, Thank You Lamb’, launched by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), should have encouraged the retailers to stock Scottish lamb.
“This is the time of year when supplies of quality, tasty Scottish lamb are plentiful and the industry’s promotional work focuses on encouraging shoppers to seek out and put some Scottish lamb in their baskets,” he said.
He further stated that, on a routine visit, which is regularly made by NFUS, around half of shelf space in Tesco and Asda was stocked with New Zealand or Australian imports.
Miller said: “Given that there are ample supplies of great Scottish lamb coming forward from farms, we will be urging Tesco and Asda to get right behind the campaign and dedicate more space to home-produced product on their shelves. We hope, when we revisit these stores in the weeks ahead, significantly more packs of Scottish lamb will be filling the shelves.
“Although we are at the start of the season, a higher level of commitment from Tesco and Asda to home-produced product would send out a positive message to farmers. That will generate the confidence and stability needed on sheep farms and help to ensure that lambs continue to be brought forward to the marketplace in an orderly manner and in the best condition.”
The campaign will run through September and aims to encourage all retailers to get on board, following on from customer demand for “fresh, tasty local product”, according to Miller.