According to AHDBs latest Lamb Watch survey,British lamb accounted for 73 per cent of facings in the major supermarkets inJune 2015. As the great British lamb season hits its peak, the figures providean indication of whos backing British, the NFU said.
AHDB has reported that four of the multipleretailers Morrisons, Waitrose, Budgens and Aldi had 100 per cent Britishlamb facings. The Co-operative was furthest behind with just 38 per centBritish lamb facings, followed by Sainsburys (54 per cent), Lidl (55 per cent)and ASDA (66 per cent). AHDB said that the figures show that some majormultiples could do more to help the lamb sector.
NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said:These figures are a significant indicator of sourcing decisions taken by UKretailers for one of British agricultures flagship products. Farmers will bedisappointed with the figures, given that there is obvious potential for oursupply chain to capitalise on both seasonality and the increased availabilityof British lamb this year.
Factor in the lowest lamb prices for five yearsand the arguments for promoting our fantastic British product at this time ofyear are compelling. However, not all retailers are promotingBritish lamb across all tiers.
Farmers will be concerned about the disparity inJunes figures and the mixed messages that this consequently sends to themarket place. Although The Co-operative and Asda have recently madeannouncements about changes to their seasonality, it is a reason why Id liketo see clarity on when the lamb season starts and finishes from our retailers.
However, the survey shows that Tesco has three percent less British lamb on shelf in June 2015 (66 per cent) when compared withJune last year. We are still waiting for Tesco to make its sourcing commitmentsfor British lamb publically clear. We are concerned that this three per centreduction could amount to thousands of British lambs not entering the UK supplychain.
While the figures from AHDB give a valuableinsight on dynamics at the retail level, my preference would be to seetransparency from our retailers on a consistent basis and particularly a clearcommitment to deliver on British lamb sourcing. Accurately forecasting demand,matching to supply and scheduling throughput should be more than achievable.Thats why I want to see the lamb supply chain get closer to producers, improvecommunication and offer direct contracts.