Mutton on the menu
Published:  10 November, 2006

Mutton farmers, butchers and processors are being urged to get involved in the campaign to promote British mutton.

The scheme, now in its third year, will stage a series of training events between October and March. Recipe leaflets and an information booklet, A Taste for Marketing Mutton, are also available.

Over 200 businesses across the UK have so far registered with the campaign as rearing, processing or serving high quality 'Renaissance Mutton' that meets an agreed standard and as a result, a secure mutton supply chain is emerging in areas such as the north west, Wales and the south east.

Good quality mutton can be made available throughout the year but the campaign has established a season - from 1 October to 31 March - to build an association between mutton and hearty autumn and winter recipes. This season also avoids a clash with the period for prime lamb.

John Thorley, policy director at the National Sheep Association said: "The campaign has successfully stirred up fresh interest in mutton and the market is beginning to respond. Innovative chefs have led the way and a growing number of restaurants are adding mutton to their menus.

"Sheep farmers are beginning to re-think their flock structures so that the best mutton can be selected and finished. Value-added mutton products such as hams, pies and savouries are now available, making mutton attractive to a wider range of consumers.

"Our challenge now is to help match supply and demand so that a sustainable niche market for mutton can develop throughout the country."

The Mutton Renaissance campaign is co-ordinated by the National Sheep Association and the Academy of Culinary Arts, and is supported by the EBLEX and HCC - Meat Promotion Wales.

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