2015-07-27   facebooktwitterrss

Shoppers Urged to Love Lamb

Sheep producers are enduring their worst season for five years, NFU Scotland is urging consumers to get behind Scotch lamb.

The weakening Euro is crippling all sectors especially those, like lamb, which are reliant on a thriving export market. With lamb exports under pressure, it is even more important that shoppers – and our supermarkets – get behind lamb this season.

Sheep

As well as looking to boost sales of tasty Scotch lamb, the Union is also quizzing major retailers on who is making profit out of this hugely difficult season for farmers?

At this time last year, when lamb prices were healthier; it was estimated that around 60 percent of the retail price was making its way back to the farmgate. With Scottish farmers receiving 20 percent less for their lambs now than they were a year ago, the proportion of retail value coming back to farmers is less than 50 percent. The price on supermarket shelves for lamb has not fallen to the same extent as market prices and the Union is adamant that in this difficult year, farmers must receive a fairer share of the end price.

Sheep

Retail Price Spreads for lamb: (from AHDB)

That call for a fairer share of the retail price for lamb is part of a seven-point plan put in place by the Union to support the crucial Scottish sheep sector. Driven by the Union’s Livestock Committee, and supported by members across the Union’s network of branches, it focuses on retail sales, promotion and public procurement.

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “There isn’t a sector in Scotland that the moment that isn’t toiling on market returns or costs and for the country’s 12,000 sheep keepers, it is now or never if we are to turn this season around.

“Those selling prime lambs are receiving 20 percent less for their efforts when compared to last year and those with store lambs to sell for further finishing are just about to enter an uncertain market.

“In the wake of currency fluctuations and challenging export trade, home consumption is key and farmers are keen to play their part. It is also inherent that the retail and processing parts of the lamb food chain deliver a fair share of the returns back to the farmgate if our producers are to have the confidence to continue producing this fantastic product in the future.

“We share sheep farmers’ deep disappointment that the share of the retail price currently going back to the farm has fallen from 60 percent to 50 percent in the last twelve months. I think Scottish shoppers will be astonished to learn that for every £10 they spent on succulent Scotch lamb, only £5 of that goes back to those working round the clock in all weather conditions to look after their stock, to the highest standards, to produce the tastiest lamb on the planet.

“This year we really need and value the support of consumers. We know that a third of households regularly buy and enjoy tasty Scotch lamb. That leaves a huge opportunity for industry, retailers and farmers to get more families in Scotland and the UK into the way of loving Scotch lamb. Boosting home consumption will hold the key to turning this difficult season around.

“Our national ‘Wham Bam Thank You Lamb’ lamb campaign, headed up by Quality Meat Scotland will start to target 3.7 million consumers in August and will include billboard, press coverage and radio advertising as well as on-line and in-store promotion. Last year, Scottish sheep farmers came out in droves to support lamb promotion activities at supermarkets, flower shows, and in restaurants helping to secure an 11% increase in lamb sales and an extra 28,800 Scottish households buying lamb.

“For the good of our iconic sheep sector, we need a repeat performance and NFU Scotland members will be playing their part with events already planned in Aberdeenshire, Argyll, the Borders, Forth and Clyde.”

NFUS

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