First Minister Alex Salmond officially launched a new St Andrew’s Day Scotch Lamb campaign today (Tuesday 9th November) and revealed that Scottish retailers are throwing their weight behind the unprecedented initiative.
Speaking during a visit to Fife-based sheep and beef producer John Cameron at Balbuthie, Mr Salmond welcomed the show of retailer commitment to the Quality Meat Scotland campaign supported by the Scottish Government.
The coming weeks will see Scotch Lamb promoted as “Perfect for St Andrew’s Day” in almost 1000 outlets throughout Scotland. Among the major multiple retailers which will be encouraging shoppers to celebrate St Andrew’s Day with Scotch Lamb are Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Marks and Spencer, The Co-operative and Lidl.
Additionally almost 800 butchers shops and independent retailers are also supporting the campaign, including around 300 Scotch Butchers Club members, and will be displaying promotional material featuring Leg of Scotch Lamb, developed in collaboration with the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Association.
This month’s launch of the Scotch Lamb St Andrew’s campaign also marks the 20th anniversary of the world’s first farm assurance scheme which was started in Scotland in November 1990.
John Cameron, host of today’s visit by the First Minister, was also one of the original members of Scotland’s Farm Assurance Scheme which pioneered the guarantees of welfare and provenance behind Scotch Lamb, Scotch Beef and Specially Selected Pork.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: "With the support of Quality Meat Scotland we now have a commitment from many of the major retailers to support the campaign and encourage consumers to celebrate St Andrew's Day with succulent Scotch lamb. Already over 1,000 outlets across Scotland have signed up.
"We are aiming to make Scotch Lamb synonymous with St Andrew's Day in the same way that haggis is with a Burns supper. Rated amongst the best in the world, Scotch Lamb is currently at its peak of seasonality. Andrew Fairlie's menu offers the perfect way for friends and family to enjoy Scotch Lamb and all that's great about Scotland this St Andrew's Day - from its people to its history and vibrant culture.
"In Scotland lamb sales are worth over £30 million and its popularity is growing. And it's entirely fitting that we are marking the campaign - which is all about celebrating quality, provenance and farm assurance, here at Balbuthie - on the 20th anniversary of farm assurance, as John Cameron was one of the original members of the scheme."
Donald Biggar, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, said Scottish farmers should be rightly proud of their world-leading assurance schemes which underpin the industry.
“During the 20 years since farm assurance was pioneered it has grown and strengthened with farm assurance now complemented by further schemes covering animal feed, transport, auction markets and processors.
“The delivery of our schemes now also involves working closely with the Scottish SPCA and it is very important our schemes are robust and continue to build on the high welfare and other standards our customers expect,” said Mr Biggar.
Scotch Lamb is also the main course ingredient in a special St Andrew’s Day menu devised by two Michelin star chef Andrew Fairlie and Rural Secretary, Richard Lochhead.
Championing Scottish produce, the menu aims to encourage the whole nation to cook up a feast on 30 November with the finest local and seasonal ingredients, using Scotch Lamb as the culinary centrepiece.
Scots are encouraged to recreate the three-course meal including a warming winter Cullen Skink, succulent Roast Shoulder of Scotch Lamb with Potato and Onion and spiced winter fruit served with creamed vanilla rice pudding.
The menu will feature at various Scottish Government events dedicated to celebrating Scotland’s national day and producers, processors and retailers will be promoting Scotch Lamb as the meat of choice in the weeks running up to St Andrew’s Day.
Recipes for these dishes along with other lamb menu suggestions are available from participating retailers and butcher shops and also available online at www.scotland.org. Additionally, Scotch Lamb and St Andrew’s Day will be promoted on the Winter Festivals website www.scotlandswinterfestivals.com and on Facebook and Twitter.