Our Co-op Truly Irresistible fresh lamb is produced from native breeds in the Cambrian Mountains of Mid Wales.
The Cambrian Lamb Group consists of 21 producers who are part of the Cambrian Mountain Initiative - a project inspired by HRH The Prince of Wales. Lamb is sourced from the beautiful Cambrian Mountain region and is available at selected times throughout the year in Co-op food stores nationwide. Cambrian lamb farmers promote best practice in land management, maintain valuable habitats and eco-systems, and actively encourage vibrant rural communities. They regularly undertake carbon footprint assessments and maintain strict animal welfare and environmental standards to produce premium, high quality lamb.
This is a bespoke producer group are audited annually to assess which pillars of achievement they have gained in relation to animal welfare, sustainability and efficiency. Our standard lamb is produced to Co-op strict welfare standards by farmers across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
However, to ensure we are able to provide our customers with quality lamb all year round, we stock New Zealand lamb during winter and early spring. As you would expect, we require our suppliers in New Zealand to rear their lambs to the same high welfare standards we require from our British farmers.
Why should I buy lamb from The Co-operative?
Where is your lamb sourced?
Our fresh lamb and chilled prepared meals are sourced from farms in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and New Zealand (when British lamb is out of season). Our Truly Irresistible fresh lamb is produced from native breeds in the Cambrian Mountains of Mid Wales.
How do you know that the lambs are well cared for?
All our lamb farmers are accredited to a national farm assurance scheme, such as Red Tractor, which ensures high standards of animal welfare. These schemes cover aspects such as the housing of animals, feed and water, health and veterinary controls, breeding, traceability and transportation.
Cambrian lamb farmers within The Co-operative Lamb Group have an extra annual audit by an independent third party to measure their performance and to drive long-term improvement. The Co-operative’s dedicated agricultural team also visits these farms when possible throughout the year, as well as undertaking welfare checks at all abattoirs.
Find out more about The Co-operative’s commitments to animal welfare.
How do farmers benefit from being part of Co-op Lamb Group?
As part of Co-op Lamb Group, our farmers are guaranteed a premium price for their lamb, allowing them to invest for the future. The group also meets three times a year to discuss industry issues, share best practice and drive improvements.
We are proud to support our lamb farmers. As well as providing these opportunities for knowledge exchange, and paying a price premium, we continue to invest in initiatives and projects to benefit the wider farming community.
How does working with farmers directly benefit me?
While The Co-operative Lamb Group aims to encourage best practice among farmers and to give them profitable returns, it also ensures that we can provide you, our customers, with high-quality lamb at a great price. Creating long-term relationships with our lamb suppliers means we can give you complete transparency in our lamb supply chain too, which is built on honesty, fairness and trust. Ultimately, we are giving you the opportunity to join us on our journey to continually invest and support British farming.
Why is your lamb not 100% British?
To ensure we are able to provide our customers with the best quality lamb all year round, we replace the British lamb with New Zealand lamb during winter and early spring. As you would expect, we require our suppliers in New Zealand to rear their lambs to the same high welfare standards we require from our British farmers. We are continuing to work with our British producers to extend the British season to support British Agriculture whilst maintaining great quality and a fair price for our customers.
Meet the lamb farmer: Meirion Jones
Cambrian lamb farmer, Meirion Jones, runs his flock of 1,200 sheep across fields reaching heights of 1,500ft above sea level in Mid Wales.
Meirion farms with his wife Ann and their lambing season extends from the start of January into February each year. This is early compared to other local farmers as Meirion aims to provide early availability of prime lambs and utilise the natural resource of grass more efficiently on the farm.
The management of the lambs’ health and welfare, coupled with grass and soil fertility, is closely monitored and controlled to consistently improve the performance of the flock and the efficiency of the farm. Meirion’s business demonstrates farm management at its best and local farmers often comment on the excellent way the farm operates.
Having farmed for more than 40 years, the couple have recently decided to enter a share-farming partnership with Iwan Poulton, a member of their staff. Young farmer Iwan has worked with Meirion since completing work experience while at school. Now aged 24, Iwan aspires to purchase and manage his own farm but is limited by the huge capital investment required and competition for farmland in the area.
Not only will the partnership help Iwan to fulfil his ambitions, it will also enable the couple to share their workload and ensure the farm’s long-term future, while still remaining involved in producing quality Cambrian lamb for Co-op, something Meirion and Ann take great pride in!