As shoppers prepare to start the Christmas food shop, sheep producers are encouraging the public to break away from traditional offerings and buy British lamb for the big day this year.
The National Sheep Association (NSA) has highlighted the meat's sustainable credentials as a positive reason to enjoy it this Christmas.
The industry group said that buying lamb or mutton also backs local farmers, and is packed with nutrients produced to traditional methods.
Free-range and extensively produced sheepmeat is, therefore, a great choice, it said, particularly at times of celebration such as Christmas.
"The UK sheep industry operates extensively on open pasture, much of which is unsuitable for other land use," said Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive.
"Grass-fed lamb has a far lower environmental impact compared to processed foods and crucially grassland also acts as a vital carbon sink.
“Sheep reared in mixed farming systems help naturally rejuvenate soil for arable crops, and farmers of all different types work hard to find a balance between biodiversity and productivity on farm, providing thriving habitats to support and protect nature.”
Sustainably produced British sheepmeat also offers nutritional benefits as well as being a versatile meat, well suited to festively spiced dishes.
Lamb is a rich source of protein and provides seven essential vitamins and minerals that support nutritional wellbeing.
Mr Stocker added: “Consumers choosing to enjoy lamb this Christmas, we believe, will not be disappointed.
"Hopefully it will encourage the continued consumption of this wonderful, healthy meat into the New Year."