Early feedback from the National Sheep Association’s new 'Make More of Mutton' survey of UK quality mutton supply chains has revealed that the sector is buoyant with plenty of good quality products on the market.
NSA’s Make More of Mutton is sponsored by Eblex, HCC and LMC, and extends the work of the Mutton Renaissance Club, an initiative of HRH The Prince of Wales. It was launched last October and an initial fact-finding exercise has shown average confidence levels of those in the supply chain are 3.5 out of 5. There are clear areas where improvements could be made, but levels of enthusiasm and interest are high.
Project Manager Bob Kennard says those responding to the survey so far are mostly sheep farmers retailing their own mutton in small volumes.
“Supply chains were therefore relatively short, with half of the participants having their own butchery facilities, and two traditional butcher’s shops also taking part,” says Mr Kennard. “The markets for mutton identified are wide ranging, with respondents to the survey selling from farm shops, farmers’ markets, butchers and other retail premises, by mail order, wholesale, pubs and restaurants and other caterers.
“There was great innovation illustrated by the responses, with about a quarter of producers supplying various cured and smoked mutton products, and most offering a wide variety of fresh mutton cuts. Between them, the initial respondents offered mutton from 20 breeds of sheep.”