An initial analysis of research undertaken on behalf of NFU Scotland has shown mixed support for Scottish Produce across leading supermarkets.

Over a two-day period in January, 71 stores across mainland stores were visited to look at a range of products and review the country of origin.

The results show that discount retailer Aldi has the largest percentage of Scottish produce overall at almost 49%, with Sainsbury’s showing the lowest at less than 8%. A further two retailers failed to get through the 10% barrier.

Sharing these high-level results from the Shelfwatch survey with delegates at the NFU Scotland Conference in Glasgow, NFU Scotland chief executive, John Davidson said: “The results from the Shelfwatch survey unveil a completely mixed bag of what is going on in shops across the country and available to Scotland’s consumers.

“While it is encouraging to see that there is strong support for Scottish and UK produce in general and examples of some retailers stocking 100 percent Scottish, others appear to have absolutely none on their shelves in some sectors.

“Clearly more can be done to ensure consumers are able to source more local produce. This also begs some questions on labeling and marketing and whether consumers have full transparency of the origin.

“These results provide us with a fantastic opportunity to not only hold retailers to account and accurately highlight to our consumers what’s going on in some shops but also enable us to give credit to those who are tremendous supporters of local food production within Scotland.”

Mr Davidson said further surveys were planned throughout the year, adding there is a substantial amount of further analysis of the data to be undertaken.

He added: “The ways in which Scottish consumers can support local produce through the likes of local shops and butchers, farm shops, farmers’ markets, and direct sales from the farm are growing. But supermarkets remain the dominant force when it comes to food sales.

“To succeed in our ultimate goal of seeing more Scottish produce stocked, priced, and promoted on the shelves of supermarkets across the country appropriately and primary producers fairly rewarded for their critical role in the supply chain, we will need a collaborative approach with retailers and other key stakeholders including Governments to take ownership of their role within each supply chain.”

There will be full coverage in the next edition of The Scottish Farmer (17th February 2024) and available in our Digital Edition