Although the retailer already offers British lamb on its meat counters all year round, it aims to complete the move to 100% British sourced across all fresh and frozen own label lamb by the summer of 2021, with all of its organic lamb already 100% UK sourced. All of the supermarket’s fresh chicken, pork, beef, eggs and liquid milk is already sourced exclusively from the UK.
Waitrose previously sourced some of its lamb from New Zealand during the winter months so the move will see Waitrose extend its commitment to UK lamb producers as it focuses its investment on the future of British agriculture.
The supermarket is making the announcement now as it looks to increase its production of lamb in the UK, which it will achieve firstly by extending opportunity to its existing lamb producers and by welcoming new ones into its supply chain.
Tor Harris, head of CSR, health & agriculture at Waitrose & Partners, said: “We have always offered British Lamb on our service counters all year round and we are delighted to be able to extend that strategy to the pre-pack lamb assortment.
“Waitrose & Partners is renowned for its range of quality lamb products, something we over trade in comparatively to our market share. Although we are already in a great position, we are constantly looking at ways to innovate our product and are actively looking to partner with new lamb producers around Britain to ensure we continue to offer great tasting, high quality lamb all year round.”
Praise from farmers
The announcement was welcomed by British farmers. National Farmers’ Union livestock board chairman Richard Findlay said: “It will provide a welcome boost for the UK sheep sector at a time when our future trading relationship is uncertain.
“It means the public have more opportunity to buy British, locally produced lamb reared to some of the highest and environmentally sustainable standards in the world. We know from a recent IGD/AHDB survey that almost 70% of shoppers want to see more British food on supermarket shelves.
“Waitrose has previously been a strong supporter of the British livestock industry and this commitment, which will see additional British lamb producers join its supply chain, will help to ensure our sector has a sustainable and ambitious future.”