Over the past 10 years, Scotland’s red meat sector has been promoting Scotch Lamb as the meat to eat to celebrate St Andrew’s Day on 30 November. In a bold move to supply free lamb to as many Scottish schools as possible during St Andrew’s week, the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS) is launching a ‘Lamb Bank’. The scheme will allow farmers selling fat lambs via IAAS marts to donate lambs for the initiative which aims to get as many Scottish school children cooking and eating lamb on and around St Andrew’s Day.
“The funds from any lambs being sold via the marts and donated to the Lamb Bank will be used to supply lamb to Scottish schools during the week of the 30th of November,” says Neil Wilson, IAAS Executive Director.
“The idea of donating lambs for schools was started by United Auctions in 2019, when the mart donated 50 lambs for the cause,” Mr Wilson adds.
Over the past 10 years there has been a drive from the red meat sector, led by QMS, the marts and butchers to make lamb synonymous with St Andrew’s Day, just as turkey is for Christmas.
“For over 1,000 years the Scots have celebrated by feasting and it seems fitting that our modern-day feasts should be celebrating not only our patron saint, but also this iconic Scottish meat,” he says. “The original idea came from George Purves and Willie Mitchell as part of the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme.
Over the decade, 11,600 home economics pupils from 115 Scottish schools have signed up to participate in cooking lamb for St Andrew’s Day, and over 1,500 farming families and their friends have organised social events to celebrate and feast on Scotch Lamb.
“Between now and 30 November, farmers selling lambs through Scotland’s marts can opt to donate lambs for the Lamb Bank, all they need to do is to let auctioneers know when they book lambs in for sale,” Mr Wilson adds. “We’d like to get lamb into at least one school in every town and every rural school in Scotland, but preferably more than that, if the industry is behind us.”
QMS has been a big driver of the Lamb for St Andrew’s Day push by promoting the home cooking of lamb via retailers and the butchery trade – including with a ‘twist’ such as in curry – as well as the serving of lamb in restaurants.
Lesley Cameron, QMS Director of Marketing and Communications, said:
"We are delighted to once again support the IAAS and United Auctions in advocating for Scotch Lamb to be the St Andrew’s Day dish. Since the initiative started, it’s been fantastic to see so many industry representatives come together and celebrate the taste and nutritional benefits of Scotch Lamb as well as the product’s sustainability credentials.
“QMS’ activity to complement the work in schools will feature collaborations with chefs and social media influencers as well as a media partnership which will generate multiple opportunities for people to see Lamb for St Andrew’s Day online and in print.”