Analysis from NFU Scotland’s secret shoppers has revealed a huge variance in the amount of Scottish lamb available in supermarkets.
Although more than two thirds of the lamb in the supermarkets surveyed was identified as Scottish or British, a number of retailers were found to be stocking high levels of imported lamb.
The union praised Marks and Spencer for honouring its commitment to stock 100% Scottish lamb in its Scottish stores. Together with Aldi and Lidl, the three retailers were found to have the highest proportion of British and Scottish lamb on their shelves.
Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and the Co-op were found to have the largest percentage volumes of imported lamb. The Co-op, for example, only had 3% of its lamb from Britain in its Aberfeldy, Aboyne, Alford, Banchory, Fyvie and Turriff stores.
NFU Scotland said it was concerned Morrisons, which has long supported Scottish and British farmers, had “worrying levels of imported lamb available” and said it would continue to lobby Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose for a strengthened commitment to home-produced lamb.
Aberdeenshire farmer Charlie Adam, who is chairman of the union’s livestock committee, said there was enough Scottish lamb to meet demand at this time of the year.
He said: “Some members taking part in this latest shelf watch were justifiably angry at the levels of imported lamb in certain stores. We have contacted those retailers, not just expressing our concerns, but to point out the great support that others are showing to Scottish sheep producers and their customers through their lamb sales.
“Overall, our shelf watchers found 69% of the lamb on shelves was produced in the UK and we want to see this proportion rise in future years. We continue to urge our members to keep an eye on shop shelves and let us know both good news and bad news on Scottish lamb being offered.”