MSP writes to retailers over low Scottish lamb stocks on shelves

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has written to Tesco and Asda calling for them to support Scottish farmers.
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has written to Tesco and Asda calling for them to support Scottish farmers.

A North-East MSP has written to two leading supermarket chains after a shelf watch study undertaken by members of the National Farming Union of Scotland (NFUS) revealed 11% of lamb on sale is imported.

A report by the NFUS found almost all of the imported meat was found on Asda and Tesco shelves.

The percentage is in stark contrast to a previous study conducted the same time last year which found only 3% of fresh lamb on Scottish supermarket shelves was imported at the time.

It was also revealed in the same study last year that 97% of lamb was clearly labelled as Scottish or British lamb.

Now, Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has written to Tesco and Asda calling for them to support Scottish farmers.

In a letter to the chief executive of Tesco David Lewis and the Asda’s chief executive Sean Clarke, Mr Stevenson said: “As you will be aware, this week sees the start of the annual Scotch Lamb promotional campaign which lasts for one month and promotes the quality and provenance of this excellent product.

“It was therefore disappointing to receive the results of the NFUS survey, particularly when most of the other retailers involved seemed to be able to stock a much higher ratio of Scotch Lamb to other lamb, with Lidl and Aldi achieving 100% in this regard.

“My constituency is one of the foremost livestock-producing areas in the country and the support of retailers is vital to ensuring the success of the industry. I should be grateful to learn whether your company will be taking any steps to increase the amount of Scotch Lamb stocked in Scottish stores.”

The study carried out by NFU Scotland surveyed 46 supermarket stores across Scotland, looking at fresh lamb offerings.

The results showed an 89% commitment to lamb produced in Scotland and the UK up from 44% in April this year. But it was down from 97% in August 2016.

In Asda a total of 656 packs counted revealed only 21 were Scottish, 417 British while there were 200 from New Zealand and 18 from Australia. The stores visited were in Perth, Huntly, Aberdeen, Peterhead, Dyce, Linwood, Fraserburgh and Edinburgh.

Meanwhile in Tesco of 551 packets, a total of 245 were Scottish, 190 were British, and 116 were from New Zealand. nThe stores visited were Perth, Turriff, Fraserburgh, Ellon, Huntly, Inverurie and Linwood.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said: “The success of farmers relies on the support of retailers to ensure the success of the industry.

“My constituency in particular is one of the key livestock-producing areas and needs the backing of supermarkets like Asda and Tesco in order to continue.

“The figures, down from last year, are discouraging and I look forward to hearing from Tesco and Asda with regards to how they plan to resolve this issue.”