NFU Scotland’s secret beef shoppers have given the majority of the country’s supermarkets a vote of confidence for stocking home-reared products, with only a couple of retailers identified as needing to improve their sourcing.
The union’s secret shopping exercise, run over the past two weeks, found 94% of the beef available across the supermarkets visited was labelled either as British or Scottish, with 61% of packs labelled explicitly as Scottish or Scotch Beef PGI.
Top performers were Morrisons, Co-op, Aldi, Marks & Spencer, Lidl and Waitrose, all of which were applauded for stocking 100% home-produced beef.
In Aldi, 96% of packs counted were labelled as Scottish, while 88% of packs in Lidl stores were labelled as Scottish or Scotch.
In addition, Tesco was found to have 90% of its beef labelled as Scotch.
“We do however need to see Asda and Sainsbury’s improve their performance by increasing domestic sourcing,” said the union’s livestock committee chairman Jimmy Ireland.
“Volumes of non-UK beef in both Sainsbury’s and Asda were significant, with almost one in every 10 packs counted coming from outside the UK.
“Members also reported co-mingling of home-produced and imported beef in these retailers, making it harder for shoppers to identify and buy home-produced beef.”
Describing the two-week exercise as “really encouraging” for Scottish farmers and crofters in general, however, Mr Ireland said Scotland’s shoppers should be confident that the majority of their local retailers stock Scottish beef in good quantities.
“This means shoppers can rest assured that they are supporting their local farmers when they are making their homemade steak pies, beef curries and burgers,” added Mr Ireland.
He also reminded shoppers that Scottish beef was also available through local butchers and farm shops.