Sainsbury's to stock Cotswolds lamb

Sainsbury's is to stock traditional Cotswold lamb in 100 stores across the Midlands from today.

The move follows the hugely successful launch of the Traditional West Country lamb range, which was launched in April in over 200 butchers' counters in Sainsbury's stores. Sales are currently are up over 20% year on year on the counter, and the supermarket hopes to have similar success in the Midlands.

Stuart Wright, Sainsbury's lamb buyer, said: "We are delighted to be able to bring Traditional Cotswold lamb to our customers in the Midlands. Our customers tell us that they prefer to buy English lamb all year round, and this is reared locally. Working in partnership with farmers in the area has enabled us to do this."

NFU president Peter Kendall said: "This move is a boost to British food and farming. Celebrating the provenance of our food, our regions, and counties, means we are helping farmers and rural communities achieve a thriving profitable, competitive and sustainable farming industry."

The lamb for the Royal Show launch was supplied by the May Hill producer group, which is dedicated to supplying lambs to Sainsbury's through their collection centre in Gloucester.

Sainsbury's buying team together with Randall Parker Foods have worked closely with these farmers.

Farm visits and meetings have been held to demonstrate the partnership and commitment, and this has enabled the group to expand to over 50 farmer members. Lambs are collected on two days every week, and up to 1000 lambs a week go straight to Sainsbury's counters in the Midlands.

Currently, the traditional range includes West Country lamb, Cotswold lamb, Downland lamb, and Moorland lamb. Areas of England were identified where the traditional ways of sheep farming were employed. In the main, sheep are reared extensively on open pastures, parkland and the upland moors where they graze for most of the year.