Farmers tell retailers to increase Scottish beef

Scotch Beef is readily available in retailers across Scotland but not at all of them, the shelf watch survey shows
Scotch Beef is readily available in retailers across Scotland but not at all of them, the shelf watch survey shows

Farmers have urged those retailers with only a limited amount of Scottish beef available to increase their offering.

During a period of prolonged warm weather many in Scotland will be hoping to enjoy some high-quality Scotch Beef burgers.

Last week NFU Scotland took part in a burger shelf watch, identifying the volumes of home-produced beef burgers available on Scottish supermarket shelves.

The secret shoppers counted over 2,500 packs of burgers across some of the largest national grocery chains.

Results demonstrated that an overwhelming 96% of burgers were home-produced, but that less than half of these were explicitly Scottish.

While the shelf watch focused on supermarket own-label packs, it also noted that branded products were carrying unclear origin labelling despite claiming association with Scotland.

The shelf watch is part of a six week campaign from the union which aims to encourage shoppers to look for Scottish beef during their next trip the shops, with the hashtag #BackScotchBeef.

Although the survey only included results from the main supermarkets, shoppers are also encouraged to visit their local butchers, who are often strong supporters of the Scotch Beef PGI.

'Farmers are struggling'

NFU Scotland Livestock Committee Chairman, Jimmy Ireland, a beef farmer from Ayrshire, said the shelf watch results is 'good news'.

However, he said it is surprising to see that they were hard to find in two of the nations largest retailers, Asda and Sainsbury’s.

“With farmers struggling to make any return from the market at the moment the message is clear that people should back Scotch Beef as much as possible this barbecue season.

“Aldi and Tesco topped the chart for the availability of Scotch Beef burgers, with 86 per cent of packs in Aldi and 72 per cent of packs in Tesco clearly labelled with the Scotch Beef PGI.

“However, there was some unclear mixed origin labelling found on own-label products in Asda as well as on branded products not included in the survey.”

Mr Ireland added: “This once again demonstrates the need to increase transparency of origin labelling to ensure shoppers have the information they need to choose Scotch every time.

“I would urge those retailers with only limited Scottish product available to increase their offering,” he said.

The survey follows news of Scotland’s beef producers fearing a collapse in the market as prices fall to a three-year low.