SCOTLAND - Supermarkets in Scotland have been working hard to extend the season and build the market for tasty, Scotch lamb.
In NFU Scotland’s latest ScotchWatch – a ‘secret shopper’ look at how Scottish produce is presented on supermarket shelves – it was delighted to find that 100 per cent of the fresh lamb being offered in the Lidl, Aldi and Morrisons stores visited this Easter was clearly identified as Scotch.
With lambing now in full swing, that will be a welcome boost to Scottish sheep producers as they work their way through the most important few weeks in the sheep calendar.
ScotchWatch also showed that other retailers continue to rely – either partly or wholly – on imported lamb at this time of year.
The Union is in discussion with those retailers who stock imported lamb, looking at how the season can be extended, so that shoppers have access to locally-reared, tasty Scotch lamb for more weeks of the year.
Speaking from his lambing shed at Barnbackle Farm near Dumfries, Vice President Andrew McCornick said: “Scottish sheep farmers are currently working flat out in lambing sheds and on hillsides around the country, giving as good a start as possible to the 2015 crop of Scottish lambs.
“Given that for many, lamb is traditionally the centrepiece of family meals at Easter, it was heartening to find that in the Lidl, Aldi and Morrisons stores we visited, the fresh lamb was 100 percent Scottish, with the Scotch Lamb logo on the label.
“That kind of commitment to Scotch is something that Scottish sheep farmers hugely appreciate and will make the hard work going on right now seem worthwhile.
“On other retailer shelves, the picture was more mixed with some fresh lamb on shelves and on meat counters clearly identified as Scotch but varying volumes of imported lamb also available.
“We recognise that many retailers traditionally balance their lamb supplies at this time of year with imports. However, we can justifiably ask them the question – if some retailers can stock 100 percent Scotch at this time of year, why can’t you?
“We have started discussions with supermarkets, making the point that a small change in buying patterns can make a huge difference to Scottish sheep producers.
“By extending their buying period for Scottish lamb – either by a few weeks at the start of the new season or a few weeks further into the spring – those retailers stocking imported lamb can follow the excellent example set by others.
“That would make a huge difference to Scottish sheep farmers and give the public what they want – tasty Scotch lamb, all year round.”
TheMeatSite News Desk