Welsh lamb industry achieves shelf-life improvements
Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has announced a significant lengthening in the average shelf-life of PGI Welsh Lamb, a key objective in improving the long-term competitiveness of the industry.
Previously, shelf-life figures ranged from around 21 to 28 days, but figures collated from Welsh processors confirm a 16% improvement over the year, to an average of 33 days.
Some overseas producers have pioneered extending the shelf-life of lamb in recent years. Emulating this improvement has been identified as a key factor in helping Welsh Lamb’s competitiveness in the domestic retail market, and in attracting new export customers.
In leading the industry towards these improvements, HCC says it has worked at all stages of the supply chain. This has included holding training courses for farmers on best practice in terms of livestock presentation, and working with processing companies on improvements at abattoirs, cutting plants and in transportation.
“Improving shelf life has been an important strategic aim, and it’s pleasing to have taken a significant step forward,” said HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells.
He explained: “The shelf life figure varies somewhat between different cuts; some products now have a shelf life of significantly longer than a month, which is a great help in attracting new export customers, and also aids the industry in being able to achieve a consistent year-round supply to retailers in Britain.
“Since we started focusing on this area, many hundreds of farmers and agriculture students have attended our free courses on presenting livestock for slaughter,” explained Gwyn. “We’ve also worked hand-in-hand with Welsh processors, and are continuing this work through our Welsh Lamb Meat Quality project, which is part of the EU and Welsh Government funded Red Meat Development Programme.
“We’re determined to continue this momentum and achieve even better results in years to come.”
A range of resources outlining HCC’s research on this issue as well as guides to best practice in the supply chain are available on its website.