Farmers, chefs, butchers and retailers around Scotland threw their weight behind “Love Scotch Lamb Weekend” which took place on September 5th and 6th.
The weekend of activity behind Scotch Lamb - part of Quality Meat Scotland’s on-going marketing and PR campaign – saw activities around the country to raise the profile of the simplicity and versatility of one of Scotland’s most natural foods.
More than 20 Scotch Lamb sampling events were run by QMS at Scottish retailers, with farmers joining QMS ambassadors in several stores around the country. In total QMS ambassadors are delivering around 112 days of Scotch Lamb sampling in supermarkets throughout Scotland, with strong support from retailers including Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Aldi.
The main aim of the on-going “Wham Bam Lamb” campaign is to encourage Scots to discover just how simple and delicious Scotch Lamb is to cook, by trying out one of a host of easy recipes like Scotch Lamb Stir Fry or Scotch Lamb Curry.
Feedback from a number of butchers around the country gives a welcome indication that lamb sales are up, with some butchers in Inverness, Perthshire, Edinburgh, Dundee and Ayrshire reporting significant increases in sales.
“We’re delighted with the level of support we’ve received from farmers and others keen to play a part personally to help promote Scotch Lamb at this time of year when it is in season and at its most succulent,” said Jim McLaren, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland.
“We’ve also been very encouraged by the level of interest in the Scotch Lambassador kits we are offering farmers and others to help them share their pride in the quality assured lamb produced in Scotland,” Mr McLaren added.
Several hundred kits have been requested by farming families who are being encouraged to share their love of lamb and cook a Scotch Lamb dish for friends, families or neighbours.
Scotch Lamb was one of the main ingredients showcased in the Scotch Lamb Cookery Theatre at Dundee Food and Flower Festival last weekend. The line-up of high-profile chefs included Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace who recently launched the Scotch Lamb campaign.
Among the other contestants taking part were Masterchef:The Professionals winner Jamie Scott, finalist Scott Davies, formerly of the Adamson and now at the Michelin-starred Three Chimneys in Syke. MasterChef finalist and Scottish Chef of the Year 2015, Adam Handling and Brian McLeish, chef/proprietor at the Moonfish Café in Aberdeen also demonstrated at the Festival.
Taggart star Alex Norton joined a line-up of foodies and chefs at Let’s Eat in Glasgow, which QMS attended, where he cooked a fantastic lamb dish for the crowds - Cajun Spiced Shepherd’s Pie.
QMS also welcomed eight leading London food and lifestyle bloggers to Scotland to showcase Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb during two days of activity where they met butchers and farmers in Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders.
Their trip included a visit to Edinburgh New Town Cookery School where Stewart McClymont of Scottish Meat Training provided a butchery demonstration and hands-on workshop. Mr McClymont showed the bloggers how to butcher a lamb shoulder, extracting small mini joints – the perfect cuts for professionals and young families. Susie Hughes, chef at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, then cooked the Scotch Lamb for the bloggers to sample.
The bloggers then headed to Hardiesmill Farm in the Borders where they saw first-hand the dedication, care and stockmanship involved in Scottish livestock production.
A key objective of the 2015 campaign is to encourage consumers to understand the versatility, simplicity and speed of cooking with lamb. The two month long campaign is harnessing a range of marketing activities to drive Scotch Lamb sales.
The on-going marketing push includes billboard, press and radio advertising as well as the in-store activity. Recipe leaflets and other point of sale materials have also been distributed via the members of the Scotch Butchers Club, run by QMS, and a range of videos for social media use have also been launched.
Historically, Scotland has consumed less lamb than other parts of GB. Around 4,000 tonnes of lamb (worth around £34 million) is eaten each year in Scotland with about 44% of the population purchasing lamb at least once in the last year (versus 57.8% in Great Britain).
The main audience for the campaign - targeting 3.7 million consumers - is young professionals and busy working parents and the message is very much that lamb is not just for roasting at the weekend – it can also make a quick, nutritious mid-week meal for all ages to enjoy. Set to reach over 90% of Scottish adults – it builds on last year’s very successful campaign which boosted retail sales of lamb in Scotland by 11%.