UK-based supermarket chain Morrisons has announced its decision to trial the sale of New Zealand lamb in 39 of its stores this week.  

According to the company, the trial comes in response to customer feedback and demand for cheaper prices. 

Morrisons stated that the trial was the result of an “extensive exercise” to understand customer preferences, with feedback indicating a strong desire for more affordably priced lamb throughout the year.  

In the UK, New Zealand lamb can be sold more cheaply due to trade deals in place between the nations. The deal removes tariffs on a larger meat quantity. 

The cost of producing lamb in New Zealand is lower than in the UK, due to differing regulatory and climatic conditions.  

This allows New Zealand farmers to minimise their fixed costs.  

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The lamb would be distinctly labelled, allowing customers at Morrisons stores to make informed choices during the trial period. 

The chain also assured that butcher counters will continue to sell British lamb. 

The supermarket was quoted by BBC as saying: “We do not intend this move to mean a reduction in the overall volumes of lamb that we buy directly from British farmers.” 

The trial has, however, been met with criticism from local farming organisations.  

The National Sheep Association (NSA) expressed its disappointment, stating that the supermarket’s decision contradicts the principles it has established with the farming community.  

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said:  ”We learnt of this disappointing news whilst returning from the Field to Fork Summit held yesterday with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street.  

“This is a very poor decision, and something NSA warned could happen during the negotiations around the new trade deals agreed with Australia and New Zealand last year.” 

The National Farmers Union also called the decision “disappointing” at a time when the British livestock industry is facing challenges. 

Recently, Morrisons announced the acquisition of 38 convenience stores in the Channel Islands from longstanding partner SandpiperCI.