One of the UK’s largest retailers, Co-op Food is disallowing fresh New Zealand lamb in the wake of protests by the British Sheep Association.
Fellow supermarket chain Marks & Spencer’s opted similarly last year, when they chose to only sell Scottish lamb in its Scottish stores.
“British lamb is a good quality product, but if it’s old season lamb – because they need to now supply fresh lamb for 12 months of the year from the UK – then they won’t get the same quality eating experience and prices will go up for them,” said Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons.
“If consumers don’t get a good enough eating experience then they just go to other proteins. Producers in both countries would lose at the end of the day, the retailers are just about selling items on the shelf so their loyalty to lamb is only there whilst it is working for them.”
Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie added: “We act responsibly, it’s not in our interests to put more product on the market than it can bear because that would de-stabilise prices and reflect back to reduced returns here.
“We do adjust our shipments to reflect the need for stability in the marketplace.”