HCC boosts profile of Welsh red meat to international visitors

Dec 1 2014

Retailers, importers and journalists from as far afield as Scandinavia and Japan have visited Wales in a bid to raise the profile and boost overseas sales of Welsh Lamb.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), has played host to three inward missions in recent weeks, it was revealed during the Royal Welsh Winter Fair today.

They are the latest in a long line of regular trade missions into Wales organised by HCC to showcase Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef to customers across the world.

Two separate visits were arranged for Norwegian and Danish retailers and importers who were keen to examine how everything operated at one of Wales’ major processing plants. A tour of the site was followed by a visit to a local farm where the foreign representatives were able to see the lambs in their natural, unspoilt environment.

The itinerary concluded with an opportunity to taste Welsh Lamb, carefully prepared by skilled chefs who know how to serve one of Wales’ culinary delights at its best.

“We had very productive and encouraging meetings with influential foreign customers who were planning ahead for 2015,” said Alex James, HCC’s Export Market Development Officer.

“They were very satisfied with the standard of both the processing plant and local farms, and were very impressed with the flavour and tenderness of the meat.

“The Norwegian retailers have since decided to focus one of their promotional campaigns in 2015 on Welsh Lamb as sales in their stores have increased substantially since the start of 2014.

“One importer plans to increase the volume of Welsh Lamb they purchase next year. This is obviously excellent news for the industry in Wales.”

Scandinavian countries have become major importers of PGI Welsh Lamb with exports to Norway, Denmark and Sweden in 2013 worth £5 million. One importer has revealed that sales of lamb in its stores are evenly split between Welsh and Norwegian due to a hugely successful PGI* Welsh Lamb campaign.

HCC also hosted another visit for journalists working on an article on Welsh Lamb for a daily newspaper in Japan with a readership of 4.5 million.

The journalists visited a sheep farm in Monmouthshire followed by a working lunch to taste and discuss the qualities of the meat.

“While we do not currently export to Japan, thiswas a perfect opportunity to promote Wales’ farming heritage and its natural and sustainable production methods to a new audience,” said HCC Chairman Dai Davies. “It helped to boost Wales’ profile in advance of when Welsh Lamb is eventually available to purchase in Japan.

“Journalists play an important role by providing clear and independent information to the wider general public about our food and farming industries. We were therefore delighted that they returned home with an excellent impression of Welsh farming in general and Welsh Lamb in particular.”

*PGI stands for Protected Geographical Indication, and means that only livestock born and reared in Wales and processed in approved abattoirs can be legally labelled as Welsh.

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