Farmers have welcomed the news that Waitrose will source all of its own label lamb from British producers by summer 2021.
The retailer already offers British lamb on its meat counters all year round, but it will now look to ensure its fresh and frozen lamb is 100 per cent UK sourced. Previously, some lamb was sourced from New Zealand during the winter months.
All of the supermarket’s fresh chicken, pork, beef, eggs and liquid milk is already sourced exclusively from the UK.
Tor Harris, head of CSR, health and agriculture, said: “We have always offered British Lamb on our service counters all year round and we are delighted to be able to extend that strategy to the pre-pack lamb assortment.
“Waitrose & Partners is renowned for its range of quality lamb products, something we over trade in comparatively to our market share. Although we are already in a great position, we are constantly looking at ways to innovate our product and are actively looking to partner with new lamb producers around Britain to ensure we continue to offer great tasting, high quality lamb all year round.”
National Sheep Association president Phil Stocker welcomed the news, describing it as a “strong statement of support to British sheep farming”.
Mr Stocker also noted changes in trade dynamics and attitudes, with many nations seeking to localise trade where possible as part of sustainability agendas.
He added: “We have been saying for a long time that Britain has the climate, the topography, and the sheep farming systems to be able to supply high-quality lamb throughout the year and the NSA is keen to work with any supply chains that want to establish long term economically, environmentally, and ethically sustainable sourcing.”