NFU Scotland has accused Asda and Tesco of undermining other retailers’ efforts to support the Scottish sheep industry
Asda and Tesco have been accused of undermining the hard work of supermarkets to support the Scottish and British sheep sector, as it approaches peak season in Scotland.
NFU Scotland’s Shelfwatch reported 11 per cent of lamb on shelves of major retailers was imported and most of it was found on Asda and Tesco shelves.
All lamb at Aldi and Lidl was Scottish with 100 per cent of lamb at Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Morrisons either Scottish or British. Two per cent of Waitrose lamb was imported from New Zealand.
But at the Asda stores visited, 30 per cent was from New Zealand and 3 per cent from Australia. At Tesco, 21 per cent of its lamb was imported from New Zealand.
NFU Scotland’s livestock committee chairman Charlie Adam said the results were ‘bittersweet’.
He said: “Next week sees 18,500 store lambs from hill farmers and crofters pass through the iconic sale rings at Lairg, providing a valuable barometer on the sheep sector’s fortunes.
“At the same time, sales of prime Scottish lambs are building towards a peak.”
He said NFUS had worked with major retailers to increase the proportion of Scottish lamb on shelves and extend the season.
He added: “However, it is abundantly clear from these results further work is needed if we are to see Tesco and Asda fully back Scottish sheep farmers.
“High stocks of imported lamb remain on their shelves, meaning availability of Scottish and UK lamb is now significantly worse than it was this time last year.”
Mr Adam said shoppers had sent a clear message they wanted to buy Scotch lamb all-year-round.
He added: “Scottish farmers and crofters deserve better treatment from these major players and the industry is committed to working with them to make it happen.”