NFUS urges supermarkets to support British lamb

A recent National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) survey has shown a “disappointing” level of imported lamb on supermarket shelves in Scotland and the Borders.

Despite the UK and Scottish lamb season being well underway, the survey has shown that many supermarkets, such as Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda, are stocking high levels of New Zealand and Australian lamb. Although some supermarkets did show a continuous commitment to British and Scottish lamb, NFUS president Nigel Miller expressed his concern over the “critical” shelf-space still being used for high levels of imports.

Miller also drew on the current financial climate to add weight to his disappointment. He said the 2012 season for lamb had not been a steady one and had experienced fluctuations in prices as well as having to contend with the Euro problems, which he said has had an impact on export opportunities.

Miller explained: “The market for lambs is softer than last season and prone to a greater degree of volatility than seen in recent seasons. With the Euro also weak, and the export market less attractive, it’s increasingly important that we have a strong, viable home market. We know that consumers want and expect to see Scottish produce on the shelf and many of our retailers are failing to give them what they want.”

The original survey was carried out by Miller, who spent one day in May covering supermarkets and stores in Edinburgh and the Borders. The latest survey was carried out this month by Miller, the food chain relationships manager Wendy Fleming and livestock policy manager John Sleigh.

Miller added: “We still firmly believe that a coordinated approach from farm to processor to shop shelf to consumer, this lamb season, still has the potential to reward all concerned but the work at the retailer end must start now.”

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