Red meat industry urged to support new campaigns
People working in every area of the Scottish red meat industry were urged to rally behind a raft of new initiatives to raise awareness of the credentials of meat from Scotland.
Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) is launching several new campaigns in the coming months and Kate Rowell, who took over as QMS chair in October 2018, is urging everyone involved in the production of red meat in Scotland to get behind them.
Among these is a marketing and public relations campaign behind Scotch Beef PGI which aims to increase consumers’ understanding of what sets quality assured beef from Scotland apart.
“Since taking up the role of QMS chair I have made a point of travelling the length and breadth of Scotland to meet and hear the views of the hardworking people dedicated to their roles in this very special industry,” said Rowell.
“As a farmer and vet, I am well aware of the challenges faced by our industry and equally aware of the dedication and sheer hard graft that goes into producing the nutritious food source that is quality beef, lamb and pork.
“Having spoken with hundreds of people in my first few months in post I am also very aware of the huge frustration being felt at grassroots level given the wave of unbalanced, and very often totally inaccurate, media coverage driven by some very well-funded organisations with an anti-red meat agenda.”
Around 50,000 jobs in Scotland are dependent on the red meat industry and Rowell urged all those involved – from farmers, processors and butchers to auctioneers, feed companies and hauliers – to support the forthcoming QMS campaigns.
“We are producing a brand-new TV advert as part of our ‘Know Your Beef’ campaign and we would like to involve people from all parts of the industry in this,” she said.
“Our aim is to collectively showcase all that we have to be proud of as producers of high quality, natural protein underpinned by world-leading quality assurance schemes which make animal welfare a priority.”
QMS launched a new strategy in May 2018 and Alan Clarke, QMS chief executive, said the organisation was in a strong position to support the Scottish red meat industry during this period of political and economic uncertainty.
QMS was one of a number of signatories of an open letter from members of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership highlighting the “potentially catastrophic impact” of a “no deal” Brexit.
Clarke said the prevailing uncertainty is proving extremely challenging for the industry in terms of future planning.
Looking to the organisation’s financial position, Clarke said that during the year to 31st March 2018, the organisation’s total income was £5.8 million (compared with £6.4 million in 2017).
Income from the statutory red meat levy for the year was £3.79 million, down from £3.97 million on the previous year.