Muirhead launches lamb campaign

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A £570,000 Scotch lamb campaign scheme was launched yesterday aimed at persuading Scottish consumers that lamb as was neither a “special occasion” food nor one which took hours of preparation.

Speaking at the launch, Suzie Carlaw of Quality Meat Scotland said that currently the average Scottish family only bought lamb six times a year. Overall some £36 million of home-produced lamb was consumed in Scotland last year, a 5.8 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.

Despite the increase, Carlaw said there was still a perception that lamb was challenging to cook and added that shoppers were risk averse, so the focus of the campaign – which runs to the end of September – is on easy, quickly prepared meals.

“We want more young people to buy lamb as it is a great product. We want it to become an everyday buy for consumers,” said Carlaw, adding the “Slam, Baam, Thank you Lamb” campaign was based on preparing meals in under 30 minutes.

Helping at the launch, world curling champion and Perthshire farmer’s daughter Eve Muirhead said that lamb was part of her strict diet as she prepares for the Winter Olympics in Sochci next February.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the UK sheep meat industry has just returned from a fact-finding mission to New Zealand where they met farmer, processor and stakeholder representatives and discussed the negative impact of price volatility on sheep meat producers. The result of the visit was an agreement to continue to work closely together to better anticipate the market.

The delegation, organised by the English red meat export body Eblex, also said the increasing demand for lamb, in particular higher-value cuts, in China would play an important part in the future global picture.

Nick Allen of Eblex said: “New Zealand now has open access to the China market and it is creating a lot of opportunities for them which they are naturally excited about.

“There is a huge demand for sheep meat there and it is not just the cheaper cuts as may traditionally have been the case.”

With the size of the Chinese population, he added it did not need a huge percentage to have rising disposable income to have a “significant” impact on the potential demand for higher value cuts.

“This increased demand from the Far East will influence the global supply of lamb as New Zealand looks to take advantage of that market – something we cannot yet do,” he said. “It means we could potentially avoid an unusually high flood of lamb cuts into the UK from New Zealand, as we got over a short period late last year.”

Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, said: “Building closer relationships gives us the chance to complement 2 learn from each other, recognising that we are all part of a global farming community that can add value and improve efficiency by working together.”