NFU Scotland (NFUS) has built on its ShelfWatch campaign and launched a ScotchWatch scheme to assess the level of labelled Scottish meat on retailer shelves.
Following horsegate, NFUS is looking to build on Scottish consumer support for meat products identified as ‘Scotch’ or ‘Scottish’.
ScotchWatch will track retailer commitment to making sure that beef, lamb, pork and chicken from Scottish farms is labelled as being Scottish. Retail shelves will be checked on a monthly basis, and the ratio of Scottish labelled meat to British or imported will be assessed.
NFUS president Nigel Miller said: “The Scottish public’s support for Scottish farmers and their produce during the ‘horsegate’ debacle was resolute, and a massive vote of confidence in the assurance and traceability systems that we have in place in Scotland.
“While retailers have retained a strong commitment to Scottish produce, we have noticed some movement in Scottish shops towards British or own-brand labels. Clearly there is a dialogue to be had with retailers on why a Scottish label isn’t always the label of choice.”
January’s ScotchWatch findings show that The Co-operative dedicated 93% of its shelf facing to Scotch-labelled beef products, while Tesco dedicated only 28%.
Miller added: “The initial ScotchWatch results show some very positive results, but also some that are a worry. We have already started to discuss our findings, both good and bad, with the retailers.”