International flavour shows HCC’s global impact

International flavour shows HCC’s global impact

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’ growing influence on the international red meat industry was evident throughout its annual industry conference held in Aberystwyth.

A string of worldwide initiatives, including marketing into new countries, increasing sales in many other territories and the hosting of international experts and key research work to bring global gains back to Wales were highlighted.

HCC’s agent in Germany, Patricia Czerniak, gave a compelling account of how, in eight years, the Welsh Lamb brand had moved from a virtually unknown commodity in the 16 Federal States to being elected one of eight trending brands at Anuga, one of the world’s top trade events held in Cologne.

She said the market was very idiosyncratic with Turkish and Italian ethnic influences and 90 per cent of lamb being eaten in the country around the Easter festival.

“HCC developed a marketing campaign which differentiated Welsh Lamb from the rest of the lamb available in Germany,” said Miss Czerniak. “We overcame prejudices that had existed since the war when the taste of mutton was dominant and we produced an emotive campaign that positioned Welsh Lamb as the top quality product on the market.

“Welsh Lamb is a niche product and it is now increasingly popular with Germany’s Michelin chefs. The German consumer understands the taste difference. Today I am very proud to say we are hitting the retail market, launching properly next year and I am confident that we will double existing sales in very little time.”

Germany was one of several territories mentioned by John Richards, HCC’s Industry and Market Information Officer. Central European exports have been a mainstay of HCC’s work since the red meat body was formed ten years ago, with France heading the volume importers list and other retailers in Benelux, Spain and Greece also buying into the Welsh Lamb taste.

John highlighted the Scandinavian countries, Russia, Canada, the United States and China as new developing markets where HCC hoped to make inroads during the coming couple of years.

Aspects of the US and French industries were featured in depth by HCC Scholar Alison Jones, the Livestock Industry Liaison Manager of Dunbia, in Llanybydder. Miss Jones had visited a processing plant in Gramat, France and trade sites in California, Wyoming and Colorado to compare the British EUROP system with carcase grading processes in the other two countries.

She said that in picking for slaughter it was helpful to try to remove risk and variation and hoped before her journey to France that the camera-based system providing a visual imaging analysis facility that had been introduced in Gramat would provide valuable information about how the industry here could develop.

“As the carcase came along the chain, the camera was flat to it and took one image and then split it into three parts to calculate the yield,” she said. “However, the impact was a little bit lost when I realised there was a grader with a EUROP grid stood next to the camera.”

In California, some carcases in slaughter were well over 40kg; they had a good shelf life and had to compete with cheap imports from Australia.

“Both countries could learn from Wales,” said Alison. “We produce a good product. We have to try and improve the consistency of the animal that comes through the factory – but to do that you must be rewarded.

“We must reward farmers for what they produce, even out the supply chain and improve sustainability at each link of the chain. It’s vital we encourage processors and farmers to work together.”

Hsin Huang, Secretary General of the International Meat Secretariat, a non-profit making association that brought together meat and livestock organisations throughout the world, said HCC played a key role in the IMS, a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences on international issues.

The IMS stages has more than 90 members- national meat and livestock organisations, corporations and other bodies connected with the meat and livestock sector- including HCC, in over 30 countries around the world.

“The IMS exists to promote the positive efforts that the industry is making to sustainability. Here HCC is doing a brilliant job in terms of promoting what the industry is doing here in Wales and its contributions to your economy,” said Mr Huang.

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