CUSTOMERS seeking to buy Scotch beef in Tesco will find it very difficult to find it, according to analysis from the Scottish Farmer.

The National reported last week that the supermarket had reduced its range of Scotch beef – but the company has insisted its procurement of Scottish meat hasn’t changed and that all front of pack labelling, regardless of where it was sourced in the UK, had been removed to help with packaging logistics during increased demand from the coronavirus lockdown.

The Scottish Farmer’s retail radar keeps track of the level of Scotch lamb and beef carried in the big supermarkets’ ranges. This week the publication found the level of Scotch beef ranges between Tesco stores, making up about 50% of the range in some locations and 100% in others.

READ MORE: Scotch beef disappears from Tesco shelves amid Covid-19 crisis

NFU Scotland livestock committee chair Jimmy Ireland said the findings are “very much in line with the anecdotal information we are receiving”.

He went on: “Early on in lockdown, we contacted Tesco specifically about the lack of beef and lamb labelled as Scotch on its shelves.

"We were given reassurances that procurement of Scottish meat was unchanged and that front of pack labelling of all beef and lamb at that time, regardless of where it was produced in the UK, had been removed to assist with logistics around packaging and distribution. At that time, Tesco’s intention was to reinstate front-of-pack country of origin labelling ‘in a few weeks’. Scottish farmers and consumers are keen to see that happening as soon as possible.”

Ireland explained that the NFU has had to “repeatedly” urge retailers to show their commitment to Scottish food.

He went on: "There are some who have stepped up and delivered consistently for Scottish beef and lamb producers. But it remains deeply disappointing to see some major retailers continuing to offer insufficient volumes of Scotch branded product at a time when all retailers really should be showing their commitment to Scottish food producers."

The retail radar found Aldi continues to be committed carrying 100% Scotch beef and lamb across its ranges, Asda stocks a “small percentage of Scotch lines” and is “less visible” on shelves than imported produce.

Meanwhile, Lidl maintains its “core range” of Scotch beef and lamb, Morrisons still has “very strong availability” on Scotch beef and lamb and in Sainsburys, Scotch beef makes up around 15% of the range and 43% of its Scotch lamb range