Saturday, October 19, 2019

Summer of love for British lamb as sales rise

October 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Livestock

Sales of fresh and frozen lamb increased strongly during the summer, according to the latest figures from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

Lamb sales grew by 8.1%, compared to the same period last year during the 12 weeks to 11 August, according to Kantar data. Analysts said the sales were boosted by demand for roasting cuts – partly due to less sunny weather compared to last year.

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In addition, there was a 5% year-on-year increase in the amount of lamb purchased per consumer, with the average UK household buying 1.5kg of lamb in the last quarter, said AHDB Beef and Lamb strategy director Will Jackson.

“The increased retail sales results will be welcome news to sheep producers. As temperatures are cooling, there’s potential that more British shoppers will turn to hearty lamb dishes to warm themselves into the autumn.”

The autumn phase of the AHDB’s lamb marketing campaign continued in the wake of last month’s Love Lamb Week, which ran from 1-7 September, to increase awareness and sales of lamb among UK consumers.

Better awareness

Those backing the campaign included Staffordshire producer Thomas Chapman.

It included a strong message highlighting the seasonality and sustainability of lamb production – as well as its nutritional value as part of a healthy diet.

Mr Jackson said AHDB had focused its seasonal marketing efforts on sheep to ensure lamb was at the forefront of consumers’ minds at a time of year that coincided with the good availability of autumn lamb for shoppers.

The promotional activity aims to stem the steady decline in lamb sales and boost consumer attitudes towards the meat across a number of different target audiences. It has involved retailers, foodservice outlets and industry stakeholders to ensure a coordinated approach.

Day-to-day work will continue in other respects to support both beef and lamb with meat, health and environment being key parts of the ongoing strategy. AHDB research and development, knowledge transfer, export and communications work will continue as normal for beef.

The sheep industry is among the sectors most likely to be affected by a no-deal Brexit. NFU livestock chairman Richard Findlay said: “We’re fully supportive of the move of marketing to concentrate on lamb, helping to retain and grow our domestic market.”

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