Phase Two of ShelfWatch, the largest ever survey of food being offered on Scottish supermarket shelves is now underway.

On behalf of farmers and crofters, NFU Scotland started the ShelfWatch survey in January, shining a light on how and where Scottish produce is being made available to buy. The first set of results were reported at NFU Scotland’s annual conference in Glasgow in February (Click Here )

For Phase One in January, an independent research firm visited 71 stores across mainland Scotland. Researchers looked at own-label beef, lamb, pork, chicken, eggs, vegetables and dairy products (milk, cheese, butter and yoghurt) on offer in Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Marks and Spencer, Lidl and Aldi stores. In all, more than 15,000 products were reviewed.

The results from Phase Two will be reported next month ahead of the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston. In total, four ShelfWatch studies will be carried out this year. All retailers involved in the latest survey were notified 24 hours in advance of the study commencing.

READ MORE | Varied Scottish produce support revealed in ShelfWatch results

Since ShelfWatch Phase One results were reported, Asda attended NFU Scotland’s annual conference, and a further meeting is taking place. NFU Scotland has also met with Aldi, Tesco and Sainsbury’s since Phase One and meetings with M&S and Morrisons are planned. Requests for meetings with other retailers – Lidl and Co-op - have yet to receive a reply.

ShelfWatch Phase Two will continue to look at the availability and origin of all fresh and lightly processed goods on Scottish supermarket shelves with a one-off look at branded Scottish products in the dairy category. It will also examine the labelling on those products to better understand the transparency for consumers in making choices.

NFU Scotland chief executive John Davidson said: “We know that Scottish consumers want to support Scottish produce and our major retailers have a huge responsibility in delivering on that. Over the coming year, ShelfWatch will identify those retailers who are giving outstanding support to local food production in Scotland and those who must do better.

“The first results in February revealed a completely mixed bag of what is going on in shops across the country and available to Scotland’s consumers. While it was encouraging to see that there was strong support for Scottish and UK produce in general and examples of some retailers stocking 100 percent Scottish, others at that time had little or no Scottish produce amongst own-label goods on their shelves in some sectors.

“The results of Phase One, and what we discover during Phase Two, provide us with a fantastic opportunity to give credit to those who are tremendous supporters of local food production within Scotland. Similarly, we will also use these results to inform discussions with those retailers who have been identified as having zero or low levels of Scottish produce available, to better understand any sourcing challenges they have and look to resolve these.

“Our ambition is that, when we come to complete our final ShelfWatch at the end of this year, there has been a marked improvement in the availability of Scottish produce in Scottish stores, allowing our consumers to fully support the hard work of Scottish farmers and crofters.”