CINCREASINGLY, British lamb is being supplemented and replaced by New Zealand lamb for significant periods of the year, writes ADAS principal consultant Liz Bowles.
But if British producers wish to regain some or all of this market, they must focus on why retailers are choosing imports and set about competing more effectively.
In the UK, two avenues for marketing lamb are being developed. The first is regional branding and the West Country brand, being sold through Safeway, is a successful example. It has led to increased lamb sales for the retailer and a larger market for producers.
Find out facts
Find out where your abattoir sells your lambs, whether there is a regional brand from your area and, where not, whether there is scope for one. Talk to your abattoir and explore the level of interest in brand development.
Selling lamb locally also offers scope for developing alternative markets. County councils see local sales as one way of effectively creating and facilitating markets for local produce.
For this approach to work, producers will have to work with abattoirs and processors to set up joint ventures.
The two approaches above will redirect sales towards regional and local purchasing and away from imports.
Closer supply chain integration may also offer a way forward. This could take the form of a closed producer group contracting with an abattoir to deliver agreed quantities of lamb at a specific time, price and quality. This is how New Zealand has managed to develop its highly effective integrated supply chain for lamb.
The ADAS stand at Sheep 2002 will be focusing on Industry Solutions and ADAS staff will be on hand to further discuss ideas raised in this article and other aspects of the sheep industry.