Quality, sustainability and strong consumer trust will build a secure future for the Welsh farming industry and its Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef brands, the chair of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) told industry representatives at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.
“We have an ambitious vision for the Welsh red meat sector,” said Catherine Smith. “And our recipe for success is based upon our three winning ingredients; our green credentials; best-in-class eating quality and customer recognition and trust.
“In Welsh farming, integrity is something that we have in spades and we can be proud of the fact that PGI Welsh Lamb and Beef and Porc from Wales is produced in the right place in the right way.”
She referred to work HCC was undertaking in terms of measuring biodiversity on Welsh hill farms.
“HCC is driving this agenda forward. In terms of sustainability: we want to go further. Our industry roadmap, the Welsh Way, is just the starting point. Work is underway on clean air and water, thriving soils, flourishing biodiversity, healthy livestock, prosperous supply chains and united communities.”
She said the second key ingredient was the Welsh reputation for quality. “We know that the meat we produce is best in class. We need to be able to prove that to our customers – in retail and in foodservice- and we must stay ahead of our rivals.”
Catherine Smith noted that HCC’s Welsh Lamb Meat Quality Project has shown that Welsh Lamb is tops for tenderness and that consumers are willing to pay more for a top-quality product.
“And that brings us to trust. Customers must trust where their product comes from and so we will build on securing the legacy of the PGI system, which has underpinned our brands and been invaluable in placing us alongside other famous premium food brands around the world. It has helped HCC to secure customers in new markets – such as the promising new trade avenues we’ve helped open in the USA and the Middle East.”
She said she believed when the red meat supply chain was working together as ethical and sustainable food producers, it was safeguarding the future not only of Welsh farms but helping to safeguard families around the world.
“I make no apology for being ambitious and for thinking big. The work we are all doing is important on a local, national and global scale. And while we have already achieved so much, we at HCC are ready to lead to way and take the next step on our journey,” she concluded.