UK lamb not so seasonal
DEMAND for new-season UK lamb has edged back up, as more buyers enter the market.
Sainsbury plans to roll it out into all stores next week. And Marks & Spencer, currently buying none, plans to make it available by early June.
In Tesco, it is already available in some stores – and was so earlier this year than ever before, according to a spokesman.
"The traditional pattern of eating hoggets in the Christmas to April period is changing," he said. "Our customers now want a younger lamb in that period.
"So we would like to see more farmers lamb out of season – in, say, September.
"Our concern is that if we dont have a British source for that, we have to look elsewhere."
But Jeremy Hosking, Tresillian, Cornwall – whose flock lambs from the end of October onwards – cautions against a big move into early lambing.
"At present, the reason that prices for early lambs are good is because there are a limited number of farmers, producing a top-quality item.
"Theres not an unlimited market, so it could be overdone."
There are the practical problems, too, such as keeping the lambs through the "expensive" winter, cautions Mr Hosking.
• Mondays average liveweight price was 148p/kg, up 2.5p on the week.n