NFUS welcomes Marks & Spencer lamb pledge

National Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS) has welcomed Marks & Spencer’s commitment to stock more Scottish lamb. 

This comes after NFUS surveyed 45 supermarket stores across the country, looking at fresh lamb offerings. The results showed a 44% commitment to lamb produced in the UK, with more of a focus on New Zealand and Australian lamb.

Of the retailers surveyed, discount retailer Aldi performed the best, sourcing 100% of its fresh lamb from the UK, with the majority (94%) of it coming from Scotland.

The shelfwatch results also showed that, despite previous commitments by some supermarkets, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, The Co-op, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Lidl had all chosen to import huge volumes of New Zealand and Australian lamb.

A statement from Marks & Spencer apologised, indicated that an error in its delivery system was responsible, pledged to rectify it over the Easter weekend and reaffirmed its commitment to sourcing only Scottish lamb for its Scottish stores.

NFUS president Andrew McCornick had labelled the lack of support for Scottish lamb among the multiples as a “slap in the face”.

McCornick said: “We continue to urge Tesco and Asda to extend their season for buying home-produced lamb in a bid to boost sales of Scottish.”

He praised Marks & Spencer for its quick action on the issue. “I welcome this speedy response and action taken by M&S,” said McCornick. “Having a leading retailer delivering on its commitment to stock exclusively Scottish lamb in its Scottish stores is great news at a time when Scottish farmers and crofters are coming through the difficult spring lambing period.

“Easter weekend marks one of the few times in the year when families are guaranteed to get around the dinner table to enjoy a hearty meal, with many choosing lamb as the traditional roast. Sadly, the Union’s shelfwatch indicated that shoppers have to look hard in stores to find any Scottish lamb. Justifiably, many will rely on their local butcher if they want to buy some fresh, tasty and local Scottish lamb.

“Scottish shoppers want Scottish lamb and butchers, Aldi and M&S show other retailers what can be achieved.”

He also praised The Co-op’s plans to introduce more domestically sourced meat.

“Looking ahead, we welcome plans from The Co-op to move to 100% home-produced across all fresh meat later this year. And we continue to call for Tesco and Asda to extend their season for buying home-produced lamb in a bid to boost sales of Scottish. We will also be asking questions of Morrisons and Lidl, which have failed to maintain their previous good record on domestic sourcing.”

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