Consumers confused over lamb products

Consumer research undertaken by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has shown that over half of shoppers are confused as to when lamb is in season. 

As part of a marketing campaign for Welsh Lamb PGI, HCC carried out a survey during a supermarket tour to investigate what consumers know and understand about natural lamb produce.

Quality and country of origin were the two main areas of focus for shoppers when looking to buy meat, the research found. Almost 80% looked to source Welsh produce where possible – although 57% believed spring to be the best time of year for new season PGI Welsh Lamb. As pointed out by HCC, it is actually most widely available during the second half of the year.

Addressing these misguided beliefs is one of the key areas of HCC’s 2016 Welsh Lamb marketing drive.

“It was a surprise to me that so many consumers thought that spring was the best time to buy Welsh Lamb,” admitted farmer and National Sheep Association (NSA) young ambassador Jacob Anthony. “But people are really keen to source quality local-produced produce.

“Meeting shoppers face-to-face on HCC’s cooking trailer in Bridgend, and marketing drives such as ‘Llamb’s Day’ on 1 August and ‘Love Lamb Week’ in early September, offer a great opportunity to engage with consumers and spread the message. Our outstanding locally-produced lamb is most widely available in the shops in summer and autumn, and if people know when to look out for it their buying preferences can influence the decisions of the retailer.”

Aside from Bridgend, HCC’s trailer tour visited retailers in Carmarthen, Cardiff and Bangor.

Today also sees the commencement of Love Lamb Week, a seven-day campaign designed to promote lamb as a simple and versatile dish.

“HCC’s marketing campaign aims to dispellieave the myth that new season lamb should be sourced in the spring and educate consumers on the best time to purchase the product,” added Elwen Roberts, HCC’s consumer executive. “Love Lamb Week is another opportunity to get the message across the country.

“We’re calling on all producers, butchers, chefs and consumers to join us over the coming seven days in particular to spread the word about fantastic lamb that’s produced in our country.”

Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive said: “It is a long standing misconception based on the fact that spring time is strongly associated with lambing. There is also a high level of availability of New Zealand lamb during spring time too, further leading to the association of eating lamb at that time. However, because most of our lambs are born in the spring, the most natural time to eat British lamb is July-November. Our production systems, breeds and landscapes are so diverse that we are able to provide a year round supply for the UK market, but we are fortunate that our import and export trade is strong, so we are able to balance the peaks and troughs of our own production levels throughout the year.”

Producers and consumers alike are being encouraged to join the conversation by using the hashtag #LoveLambWeek.

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