Best supermarket for Scottish produce is Aldi, as study shows mixed retail support for farmers
Aldi has been revealed as the top supermarket in Scotland when it comes to stocking the most Scottish produce, new research has revealed.
The German multinational retailer has the largest percentage of its overall products from Scotland (48.7 per cent) in its stores north of the border. The results come from the first part of a four-stage survey launched by the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), which is looking at food on sale in supermarkets in Scotland.
A total of 71 Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Marks and Spencer, Lidl and Aldi stores were surveyed in January for the beef, lamb, pork, chicken, soft fruit, vegetables and dairy products on their shelves.
Researchers reviewed the country of origin of products being offered by the stores’ own brands to identify if they were Scottish, British or imported. Soft fruit was not included in this first round because it is 100 per cent imported during January due to seasonality.
Sainsbury’s had the lowest percentage of Scottish produce, with just 7.6 per cent of Scottish products on its shelves north of the border.
Tesco and Asda were second and third lowest with under 10 per cent of Scottish products in their stores overall – 8.1 per cent and 8.7 per cent respectively. For meat products, the survey showed retailers showing good support for British and Scotland-specific farmers.
The NFUS pointed out while some products say “from UK”, this could include Scottish farmers which shows support for Scotland-specific farmers may be stronger than what is reported.
Aldi had the largest percentage of pork, bacon and sausages labelled as Scottish, and it proved to be the only retailer to stock fresh Scottish pork (100 per cent). Six retailers had no Scottish pork, with most of it being from UK-wide.
Meanwhile Asda imported 33 per cent of its fresh pork, and Tesco 17.3 per cent. For beef, Lidl came out on top with its stores in Scotland stocking 88.6 per cent Scottish beef. Aldi was close behind with 86.6 per cent and Morrisons 73.2 per cent.
Asda had the lowest levels of Scottish beef (19 per cent), while Sainsbury’s had 19.8 per cent, and also imported more than 10 per cent of its beef from Ireland. Lidl had the largest percentage (100 per cent) of Scottish lamb products followed by M&S (83.6 per cent).
Meanwhile Asda and the Co-op had no Scottish lamb, with Asda importing more than 50 per cent of its lamb products (55.7 per cent).
Aldi was top for poultry, with the largest percentage of Scottish chicken (86.7 per cent). Tesco and Sainsburys had no Scottish-labelled chicken, while Asda had just 1.4 per cent in its poultry section. The largest amount of chicken stocked in shops in Scotland came from the UK.
Aldi stores in Scotland are also the best place to buy Scottish eggs, with 100 per cent of the boxes coming from Scotland. But four retailers – Asda, Co-Op, M&S and Sainsbury’s – had no Scottish-labelled eggs. Morrisons had a small number of ‘N/A’ eggs, which the report said are from caged eggs which don’t have an origin label.
Dairy products showed more mixed results. M&S had the most Scottish milk (62.4 per cent), while Tesco had the lowest (30.7 per cent). Most butter in the stores was labelled from the UK, but only two – Aldi and Lidl – had Scottish-labelled butter, with Aldi stocking the highest amount (34.5 per cent).
Aldi, again, came out on top with the most amount of Scottish cheese (22.3 per cent), but the largest proportion of cheese in Scotland’s supermarket stores that were surveyed came from UK-wide. And Aldi had the largest percentage (61.8 per cent) of Scottish vegetables, while the Co-op came lowest at 4.8 per cent.
Sharing the results at the NFUS conference in Glasgow on Thursday, the union’s chief executive John Davidson said: “The results from the Shelfwatch survey unveil a completely mixed bag of what is going on in shops across the country and available to Scotland’s consumers.
"While it is encouraging to see that there is strong support for Scottish and UK produce in general and examples of some retailers stocking 100 per cent Scottish, others appear to have absolutely none on their shelves in some sectors.
“Clearly more can be done to ensure consumers are able to source more locally produce. This also begs some questions on labelling and marketing and whether consumers have full transparency of the origin.
“These results provide us with a fantastic opportunity to not only hold retailers to account and accurately highlight to our consumers what’s going on in some shops, but also enables us give credit to those who are tremendous supporters of local food production within Scotland.”
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.