Farmer producer venture to launch Cotswold Lamb in Sainbury's

Shoppers in the Midlands and North West of England will be able to purchase prime Cotswold spring lamb from their local Sainsbury's store next month.

Shoppers in the Midlands and North West of England will be able to purchase prime Cotswold spring lamb from their local Sainsbury's store next month, thanks to a partnership between Three Counties farmers and Andover based Randall Parker Foods.

Reared on family farms from the Cotswolds through to the Malverns, the succulent, tender lamb will be supplied to Sainsbury's by Randall Parker Foods.

Randall Parker Foods recently attended the National Sheep Association (NSA)'s Marches region Open Day at Henry Dunn's farm in Upleadon Court, Newent and handed out samples and leaflets featuring information on the new range to many of the visiting 400 farmers.

Henry Dunn and Randall Parker Foods have a relationship dating back to 2001 when, following the closure of Gloucester market, Dunn and his business partner Mike Credland set up the May Hill Producer Group, in order to supply Randall Parker Foods with Gloucestershire lamb.

The group, which has its own collection centre at Dunn's farm, now has around 35 farmers regularly using the scheme.

"The May Hill Lamb Producer Group was formed to provide an efficient, low-cost marketing solution for producers with high animal welfare standards. The scheme is run on an entirely non-profit making basis by our farmer members who put through about 700 lambs a week in spring, as well as hoggets and cull ewes," said Dunn.

"The essence of the scheme is about profitability and quality so we encourage members to concentrate on flock health, feeding and breeding to ensure the best possible returns for them and an excellent quality product for their customers."

Juliet Davies, director, Randall Parker Foods, from Randall Parker Foods, commented: "We worked closely with May Hill to develop prime spring Cotswold lamb to Sainsbury's exacting specifications and we are confident that it will be a strong seller. We certainly had some excellent feedback from visitors at the NSA Open Day.

"As well as giving us the opportunity to showcase our lamb, we also wanted to tell farmers at the event about our partnership with the May Hill Lamb Producer Group as it is clearly beneficial for all parties involved and a good way for farmers to maximise the return on their products. I certainly feel that we have given quite a few farmers some food for thought by attending the open day."

Cotswold Lamb is part of Randall Parker Foods' Traditional range, which also includes West Country, Downland, Moorland and Anglian Lamb. The range consists of 12 popular cuts produced using traditional butchery techniques which are then further matured for up to 15 days to ensure maximum flavour and tenderness.

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