16 October 1998
Farmers welcome Asda ban on New Zealand lamb
By FWi staff
FARMERS have welcomed Asdas recent on New Zealand lamb, describing the move as a potential lifeline to beleaguered UK sheep producers.
Asda, the UKs third largest supermarket, cancelled its entire winter order for New Zealand lamb. The supermarket said it would buy £2.5m of UK lamb instead.
In doing so, Asda has become the first chain to sell only British beef, pork and lamb.
The National Farmers Union said the initiative was “an enormous boost” to sheep producers.
John Cleland, Asdas meat director, said the supermarket was determined to reinforce its commitment to British farmers.
“Sheep farmers have a had a bad year and are facing a very bleak winter,” he said.
“We hope our decision to halt all imports of fresh New Zealand lamb will give them a welcome boost in the run-up to Christmas and into 1999.”
Supermarkets usually stock New Zealand lamb to offset a shortage of UK supplies during the winter months.
But this year, the UK market is vastly oversupplied and domestic sheep prices have plummeted.
A standard-weight sheep is worth about £26 compared to £37 a year ago but many farmers have sold sheep for as little as £5.
Average sheep prices at livestock auctions have slumped to 75p/kg from 105p/kg this time last year.
The other two major supermarket chains, Sainsburys and Tesco, said they would continue to stock New Zealand lamb.
FWi, 28 April, 1998