meat-on-supermarket-shelf-large-(c)REX

Waitrose, Morrisons and two discount supermarkets, Aldi and Lidl, have shown a strong commitment to British beef and lamb, according to a survey.

The quarterly survey of 30 stores is carried out by the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) and monitors the amount of British product on supermarket shelves. It showed that overall 83% of the beef and 88% of lamb on sale was British. That figure was an improvement on the same position a year ago and represents the best position for lamb in recent years.

But, while Waitrose, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl stocked 100% British, other retailers performed less well. Asda was the worst with just 59% home-produced beef and 73% lamb – although both those figures are an improvement on last year’s position.

Tesco also fared badly. Although it had an increase of 36.6% of British lamb on sale compared with the previous quarter it still only represented 75% of lamb on its shelves, putting it second from last in the table. Tesco’s commitment to British beef in 2013 had also wavered, with a fall of 7.9% compared with November 2012.

A Tesco spokesman rejected criticism of its performance. “We are British agriculture’s biggest supporter, with customers buying more high-quality British produce from Tesco than from any other retailer.

“Of our beef across fresh, frozen and ready meals 100% is British and Irish. British lamb is currently in season and we are providing high volumes to our millions of customers across the UK. To support British farmers we have set up Sustainable Farming Groups, and we announced last week that we are introducing two-year contracts for beef farmers, which will give them greater security to grow their businesses.”

Meanwhile the biggest decline in percentage for sale, across all retailers surveyed, was at Marks and Spencer, where its offering of 87% British lamb was a drop of 12.6% compared with 12 months ago.

Despite the poorer performances the NFU said it was upbeat about the survey as a whole and welcomed the overall improvement, saying it was good news for farmers.

Union deputy president Meurig Raymond said: “It’s clear retailers are now starting to recognise the importance of promoting farm-assured Red Tractor British beef and lamb, which we know more consumers want to buy.

“These latest figures show improvements across the board, although some supermarkets are still doing better than others. I’m pleased to see Tesco improving its commitment to British lamb, although it’s disappointing that the levels of British beef on the shelves have fallen in the past few months.”

Mr Raymond said Morrisons’ consistent stocking of 100% beef and lamb was a shining example that he hoped other retailers would follow.

“While there have been improvements, it’s clear that more needs to be done and the NFU remains committed to working with all retailers to improve their commitment to sourcing British,” he added.

Beef and Lamb Watch

Total all British, Welsh and Scotch v total

Change year on year (%)

Change v last period (%)

Nov 12

Aug 13

Nov 13

Nov 13

Jan 00

Product

Retailer

99%

100%

100%

0.8

0

Beef

Aldi

100%

100%

100%

0

0

Lamb

Aldi

53%

53%

59%

10.7

10.9

Beef

Asda

74%

71%

73%

-1.3

2.2

Lamb

Asda

93%

97%

100%

7.6

3.3

Beef

Budgens

100%

100%

95%

-5.3

-5.3

Lamb

Budgens

100%

100%

100%

0

0.2

Beef

Co-op

94%

72%

85%

-8.7

18

Lamb

Co-op

100%

100%

100%

0

0

Beef

Lidl

100%

58%

100%

0

71.4

Lamb

Lidl

100%

100%

100%

0

0

Beef

M&S

100%

91%

87%

-12.6

-4.4

Lamb

M&S

100%

100%

100%

0

0.1

Beef

Morrisons

100%

100%

102%

2.5

2.5

Lamb

Morrisons

80%

91%

87%

8.7

-4.9

Beef

Sainsbury’s

89%

85%

97%

9.1

15

Lamb

Sainsbury’s

0%

0%

0%

Beef

Somerfield

0%

0%

0%

Lamb

Somerfield

0%

0%

0%

Beef

Netto

0%

0%

0%

Lamb

Netto

89%

85%

82%

-7.9

-3.8

Beef

Tesco

74%

55%

75%

0.7

36.6

Lamb

Tesco

100%

100%

100%

0.3

0

Beef

Waitrose

96%

88%

100%

4.1

13.9

Lamb

Waitrose

81%

82%

83%

2.8

1.3

Beef

Total

86%

79%

88%

2.7

0

Lamb

Total

Source: EBLEX

More on this topic

More on home-produced food