Waitrose has responded to concerns over confusing labels on some of its lamb ready meals by re-branding its ‘British’ collection as ‘Classic’ with new packaging being printed this week. In addition to this they have said they are exploring the practicalities of using more British lamb in their ready meals.
This decision comes following extensive discussions with NFU Cymru after the organisation raised the concerns that the meals branded ‘Waitrose British’ and included Shepherd’s Pie, Lamb Hot Pot, Liver, Bacon and Lamb with Mint and Redcurrant, were all made with New Zealand lamb.
In the short term, Waitrose will ensure that all products have the origin of the lamb clearly marked on the front of packaging. NFU Cymru expresses concerns over the lack of origin labelling with the product online and Waitrose have responded by adding an online origin statement as follows:-
“Waitrose has committed to re-branding the range and are looking at a better solution to meet customer needs in the future. We will continue to keep you updated with further details.
NFU Cymru President Stephen James said: “Our concerns about this have been made very clear to Waitrose right from the beginning of this product line. The inclusion of the word ‘British’ in the brand name, despite the meat being sourced from New Zealand, is misleading for shoppers. Not only this but it is very frustrating for Welsh farmers, especially those who produce lamb Waitrose could have sourced.
“After extensive discussions between the retailer and NFU Cymru, we are now pleased to see some changes made with the on-pack stickers to clarify sourcing being the first step. Waitrose will then change the line to be ‘Classic’ meals rather than ‘British’ and in the long term they hope to plan a full re-brand to include meat sourced from the UK and Wales.
“During the discussions with Waitrose, we urged the retailers to make the most of the high-quality Welsh food products our farmers produce. We will continue to push the message to them that the best way to celebrate Welsh provenance is by using it in their products.”