An initiative to promote the flavour and diversity of Britain’s native sheep breeds has been launched by the National Sheep Association (NSA).
The British Heritage Sheep project aims to introduce the public to the different eating experiences from 60 breeds of sheep and sheep meat of different ages.
NSA chief executive, Phil Stocker, said the connection between landscapes and the breeds which have created them is an important cultural link.
“Each breed has its own niche and purpose, and each has its own flavour,” he said.
“The scheme will open up this treasure trove of different flavours and textures by spearheading exports.”
Consumers will be given an ABC of sheep meat, relating to Age, Breed and the area of Countryside where it has been farmed.
Age is in three categories – lamb (up to 12 months); hogget (12-24 months), and mutton (24 months+).
Labels will inform consumers about these different aspects, and others will be accessed by consumers via an app and barcode.
According to Bob Kennard, who researched the project, taste trials have shown that there is a wealth of flavours to enjoy in sheep meat.
He said: “For millennia older sheep meat was much more widely eaten in the UK, and yet for the past few decades this great array of flavours has not been available.
“We hope this scheme will rectify that and bring some extra excitement and enjoyment into eating sheep meat.”