NEW funding worth £200,000 is again being ploughed into the promotion of Scotch Lamb - a year after three UK-based supermarket chains were named and shame for failing to 'go Scots' with lamb sold on shop aisles.

Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon made the announced £200,000 of new funding to support Quality Meat Scotland's promotion of lamb this year.

Last year Nicola Sturgeon announced an identical cash injection on a vist to the Turriff Show in Aberdeenshire.

The meat product is one of 15 Scottish protected geographical indicators under EU law.

While the First Minister announced the campaign, the National Farmers Union Scotland shelf watch showed that Asda, The Co-operative and Waitrose were "found wanting" with no Scottish lamb available on shop aisles.

And it was two German supermarket chains that supported Scottish lamb best - Aldi and Lidl - with all produce sold being marked Scottish.

HeraldScotland:

It comes after the NFUS members and staff carried out a shelf watch over 50 Scottish supermarket over the first ten days of this month to identify which retailers are doing their part to support Scottish sheep farmers during peak production season.

The shoppers counted over 2,500 packs of Scottish lamb and identified which of the big supermarkets were sourcing the most Scottish and home-produced lamb.

READ MORE: German supermarket chains better than British at displaying Scottish lamb

But the NFUS said the results demonstrated that Asda continue to stock significant volumes (40%) of imported lamb, where many of its competitors have chosen to source Scottish and British lamb exclusively. It also found that no lamb was labelled as Scottish in the Co-operative and Waitrose.

The NFUS said the majority of lamb in the Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi stores, however, was labelled as Scotch Lamb PGI (protected geographical indication), giving the farming sector "reason to be encouraged" despite the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, the NFUS said.

They found that Marks and Spencer stocked 26% Scottish, while at Sainsbury's it was 56%, at Tesco it was 59% and at Morrisons it was 73%.

Speaking during a parliamentary statement on supporting the sheep industry, Ms Gougeon said: “Our food and drink sector plays a significant and growing part in Scotland’s economy, so it is vital that we support the promotion of our premium produce at home and abroad.

“I want more people in Scotland and across the wider UK to buy more Scotch Lamb. Last year, we gave Quality Meat Scotland £200,000 to support its marketing campaign to promote Scotch Lamb, which saw a 27% increase in spend per buyer on lamb and a 20% increase in volume purchased per buyer during the promotional period.

“So, building on that success, I am delighted to announce that this government will provide Quality Meat Scotland with an additional £200,000 to support marketing activity in the coming year.

“The funding will help to encourage more of us to include high quality Scotch Lamb in our weekly shopping basket. It also sends a strong signal about how this government supports our sheep farming sector now and in the future. ”

Alan Clarke, chief executive of Quality Meat Scotland, said: “This funding is fantastic news for the whole sheep industry and sends a clear signal of confidence in Scotch Lamb PGI as a tasty, nutritious ingredient at the heart of Scotland’s natural larder.

“Scotch Lamb is underpinned by whole-chain quality assurance which makes animal welfare standards a priority and the additional funding will allow us to build on the success of our 2018 Scotch Lamb marketing and public relations campaign – “Scotch Lamb, Naturally”.

Last year, campaign group Keep Scotland the Brand was launched, prompted by the steady disappearance of the Saltire on Scottish-grown food, and its replacement by Union flag packaging.

The #KeepScotlandtheBrand movement has been growing after fed-up customer Ruth Watson began tweeting pictures of Scottish products in supermarkets packaged under a Union flag.