As many consumers begin preparations for their festive dining the National Sheep Association (NSA) is recommending lamb as an additional meat to add to shopping baskets, highlighting its sustainable credentials as a positive reason to enjoy it this Christmas.
The need to consider the environment in our consumer habits has this year become more evident than ever before with much debate on the role livestock production plays in climate change.
Despite much discussion suggesting red meat is a contributor to climate change more recent research is now evidencing the fact that traditional pasture-based grazing systems, such as those adopted by the majority of the UK’s sheep farmers, can actually be part of a wider solution to this issue. Free-range, extensively produced sheepmeat is, therefore, a great choice year-round, and especially at times of celebration such as Christmas.
NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker said, “The UK sheep industry operates extensively on open pasture, much of which is unsuitable for other land use. Grass-fed lamb has a far lower environmental impact compared to processed foods and crucially grassland (pasture) also acts as a vital carbon sink.
“Sheep reared in mixed farming systems help naturally rejuvenate soil for arable crops, and farmers of all different types work hard to find a balance between biodiversity and productivity on farm, providing thriving habitats to support and protect nature. For all these reasons NSA believes it is a great choice to enjoy this Christmas.”
Sustainably produced sheepmeat also offers many nutritional benefits as well as being a versatile and delicious meat, well suited to festively spiced dishes.
Stocker added, “Consumers choosing to enjoy lamb this Christmas, we believe, will not be disappointed and hopefully it will encourage the continued consumption of this wonderful, healthy meat into the New Year.
“Lamb is a rich source of protein and provides seven essential vitamins and minerals (niacin, vitamins B6 and B12 and zinc and a source of potassium, phosphorus and pantothenic acid) that support nutritional wellbeing. And of course, it is a meat that is full of flavour, produced naturally by the nation’s hard-working sheep farmers.”
Stocker concluded, “NSA hopes consumers enjoy British lamb as part of their festivities this year and wishes everyone a very Happy Christmas and positive New Year.”