Lamb for St Andrew’s Day boosts sales in the ring

30 Jan 2023

The latest market analysis shows a 20% uplift in liveweight lamb prices in Scotland’s auction markets in November, for a second year in a row, believed to be on the back of the industry initiative, Lamb for St Andrew’s Day.

In its support of the Scottish sheep sector, The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers (IAAS) led another highly successful annual campaign in the autumn months as part of Lamb for St Andrew’s Day. The Lamb Bank, which was established in 2020 when Covid restrictions limited large gatherings and IAAS saw an opportunity to work with schools, gathered generous donations in lamb, money and time from industry. As a result, cuts of lamb were delivered into schools across Scotland for more than 18,000 pupils to cook and eat to celebrate the patron saint’s day on 30th November.

Neil Wilson, Executive Director of IAAS, who worked closely with Christopher Sharp, Director of IAAS, to facilitate The Lamb Bank, said:

“This clearly demonstrates the impact of the campaign on improving liveweight lamb prices in Scotland during the month of November and shows how a whole industry getting behind a focused campaign can help us all promote our product and support prices at a critical time of the year.”

The long-term vision of Lamb for St Andrew’s Day is for future generations of customers to choose to cook and eat lamb, explains Mr Wilson, by introducing young people to its taste and merits early and countering any negative marketing around red meat, but there is a short-term gain for the industry here as well:

“By promoting lamb and sheep meat products at a time when we see a seasonal rise in supply, we are also stimulating demand. The benefit of this is that we can help support the farmgate prices through the auction ring at this time of year.”

Lamb for St Andrew’s Day was launched in 2010, by a livestock auctioneer and a sheep farmer, to make lamb synonymous with the celebration and encourage consumers to buy it for the day. When Covid restrictions made it difficult to hold large gatherings and host parties, in 2020, IAAS and the auctioneers redirected efforts into donating lamb to schools, launching a Lamb Bank seeking contributions from the industry to reach as many school pupils as possible.

Over the past three years IAAS has spearheaded this drive to deliver into schools, with principal support from Quality Meat Scotland as well as NSA Scotland, Scottish Craft Butchers and National Farmers Union Scotland. As a result, over 62,000 Scottish secondary school children have cooked and eaten lamb in Home Economics classes and school canteens. Lamb for St Andrew’s Day has also been recognised in the Scottish Parliament and has become one of the key lamb promotion events in Scotland.

In 2022, the Lamb Bank received donations from sheep farmers and the wider industry and IAAS worked with 43 independent butchers, spending just over £30,000 with them, to process, pack and deliver to secondary schools across Scotland.

“I’d like to thank all the farmers and our auctioneer members who generated donations to our Lamb Bank, to enable this tangible engagement with school pupils, and to the butchers who worked around the clock to process, pack and deliver”, said Mr Wilson. “I’d like to give a particular mention to Woodhead Brothers in Turriff, who donated lamb for 1880 Aberdeenshire school children, which was kindly delivered by G & M Whyte, and to Shetland Livestock Marketing Group, who covered all of the Shetland schools and their 160 pupils.”