Lamb on supermarket shelf

Retailers in Scotland are backing British lamb with almost 80% on supermarket shelves home-produced, a secret shopper survey has revealed.

The findings followed visits by NFU Scotland Easter Lamb Shelf Watch, which examined 3,032 packs of lamb in 48 stores between 20-27 March.

The union said almost 77% (2,343 packs) were found to be labelled as Scottish or British.

See also: Lamb watch: Which are the best retailers for backing British?

This marked a significant improvement on last Easter when only 44% of packs were found to be produced in the UK.

Union officials said they were delighted to find that Scottish- and British-produced packs of chilled lamb were available in most major supermarket chains

Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Aldi and Co-op were found to be honouring a previous commitment to go 100% home-produced in Scotland.

Of the four, only M&S had nominal volumes of organic New Zealand lamb.

However, there were major disappointments with no Scottish lamb identifiable in the aisles of Waitrose and Asda. Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest supermarket, also performed badly with more than half of its lamb on offer produced overseas.

Nevertheless, NFUS president Andrew McCornick said the overall support for Scottish produce was a boost to farmers.

“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,” Mr McCornick said.

“It is disappointing however to see Sainsbury’s stocking more than 50% 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,” he said.

Origin of fresh lamb in Scottish supermarkets (% of total displayed)

  Scotland Other UK Imported
Aldi 96 4 0
Asda 0 69 31
Co-op 10 90 0
Lidl 70 3 27
M&S 81 15.5 3.5
Morrisons 65 35 0
Sainsbury’s 20 22 58
Tesco 46 21 33
Waitrose 0 6 94
Overall 41 36 23