Tesco has reduced the amount of British lamb on its shelves by 15% over the past year, according to AHDB Beef & Lamb.
The levy board’s latest Beef & Lamb Watch analysis revealed that just 50% of Tesco’s lamb facings were British in June 2017, down from 67% in January. Tesco defended its offering, saying all its fresh meat counters only sold British lamb.
“We clearly label the origin of our fresh lamb and offer customers a choice to buy British,” said a spokeswoman. “Over the last three months, while best in season, fresh lamb across our stores has continued to be largely from the UK.”
Tesco has faced criticism in the past about the proportion of British lamb on its shelves. In 2015, the NFU claimed the retailer’s support for domestic lamb was “bottom of the pile” after AHDB’s Beef and Lamb Watch analysis revealed the retailer had just 58% British lamb facings between August 2014 and August 2015.
Elsewhere, Asda increased its British lamb facings by 21% over the past year to 61%, which the retailer said was because “we always look to source British first”.
The amount of British lamb facings sold by Co-op reached 100% in June after a 4% increase over the year, while Lidl also registered an increase of 71%. Sainsbury’s, which recently committed to selling 100% British fresh new season lamb from July 1, rose by 10% over the year, despite dropping 26% from January to June.
“We have 1,000 sheep farmers in our dedicated Lamb Development Group and we continue to sell as much British lamb as we possibly can,” said a spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s. “By working with our farmers we’ve been able to continue to increase the ratio of British to New Zealand lamb in the off-season year on year. We also offer 100% British lamb when it’s in season from July and in our Taste the Difference, Organic and counter ranges year round.”