11 reader ideas on how to reverse UK lamb sales decline

Lamb producers, industry experts and consumers have taken to Twitter to pitch solutions to reverse a worrying decline in lamb retail purchases in the UK.

Last week, Farmers Weekly published a story addressing the decline of lamb purchases in 2017, down 9.8% on the year to 13 December 2017.

In a tweet from the magazine’s official account, readers were invited to share their best ideas to promote lamb to the younger generation, as the demographic of lamb and mutton purchasers is an ageing one.

See also: Lamb sales plummet as younger Brits reject red meat

Farmers Weekly chose a selection of the best responses:

1. Rosey Norton (@RoseyTN) suggested the lamb industry as a whole needed to analyse marketing techniques employed by activists and provide a coherent set of answers to claims about lamb production – similar to the Dairy UK and AHDB Dairy resource for UK dairy farmers.

2. The industry needs to emulate existing success stories that highlight tasty, modern recipes and ideas for cooking lamb, according to Andrew Prentice (@Maolfarmiona).


3. A comprehensive media campaign emulating the recent Dairy UK and AHDB Dairy initiative was needed as well as tackling the perception that lamb is a baby animal, said blog Eat, Drink & Forty Winks (@edandfortywinks).

4. Naomi Langford-Wood (@NaomiLWood) questioned whether it was time to rethink domestic lamb production volumes and to look at what consumers are eating instead?

5. Creator of the Young Farmers of the UK Twitter account, Georgina Gater-Moore (@Georgielmgm) emphasised the need for “Lambassadors” – influencers with a large social media following to promote lamb recipes and nutrition – such as England rugby star James Haskell (seen below).

Food, glorious food!

A post shared by James Haskell (@jameshask) on

6. Peter Eccles (@MacEccles84) suggested more lamb be promoted and sold at gigs, festivals and agricultural shows. 

Although retail sales are falling, AHDB Beef & Sheep believe the fall in the service sector, including catering and restaurants was not as substantial. 

7. Innovation in lamb product development was Rob Hughes’ (@RobHughes90) idea. Who could argue with promoting lamb bacon?

8. Rob Massey (@MasseyRob) and Mark Jagger (@piggy_jags) highlighted the need to promote lamb’s nutritional value as well as a need for packaging to highlight its free-range and grass-fed appeal.

9. @KanangaBond touched on stunned/non-stunned debate associated with lamb production and the need for clarity on package labelling. 

10. Tulliefarming (@andrew_tullie) posed the question: Should lamb have its name changed to disassociate itself from the animal itself in the same way beef and pork does?

11. Great Steakout (@greatsteakoutuk) emphasised the necessity for lambs to be on spec in order to meet consumer demands.