New figures reveal Tesco still failing at backing British lamb

New figures that show the amount of British lamb on the shelves in Tesco stores has fallen dramatically, is another kick in the teeth for sheep farmers in this country, according to NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe.

The latest AHDB Beef and Lamb Watch has revealed Tesco lamb facings for August 2015 have dropped by 15 per cent compared to August 2014, from 73 per cent to 58 per cent.

The report backs up the NFU’s own beef and lamb watch exercise carried out last month when members were asked to provide us with information on the lamb offers in Tesco and ASDA stores over two weekends. The NFU encouraged members to identify examples of sourcing and labelling practices, as well as pricing and promotional activity and whether this included British lamb.

Mr Sercombe said: “In June, NFU President Meurig Raymond tabled a question at Tesco’s AGM and urged the retailer to demonstrate exactly how it is delivering on its promises and commitments made at NFU Conference in 2013 and to give firm evidence that progress is being made. They then confirmed that the promises to source more meat closer to home – which they made nearly three years ago – still stood. Just days ago the UK farming unions met with Tesco to discuss the challenges facing British agriculture.

“But now, we get these figures from AHDB which seem to indicate that Tesco is saying one thing but doing another. Using facings as a key indicator, Tesco support for domestic lamb is not just below average, but it appears to be bottom of the pile. We are challenging Tesco to explain how this reduction in the percentage of British lamb sold is compatible with its open public commitments to source more meat closer to home. British farmers are once again asking, why in the peak British lamb season are Tesco not backing British?

“Tesco says it has long term aims to support British sheep producers by growing its Sustainable Lamb Group partnership but this will take time for farmers to see the benefits. We need to see positive steps now to source British lamb which is at its best.

“On the plus side, the AHDB report highlights those retailers who are consistently supporting British farming such as Waitrose, Budgens, Aldi and Morrisons, who all have 100% British lamb facings. Meanwhile, The Co-operative, Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Lidl are showing signs of improvement but could still do better.”

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