Drovers’ example inspires Welsh Lamb industry to tap into London market

Inspired by the drovers of yesteryear, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is taking outstanding Welsh produce to London on August 1 as part of a sales drive in the UK market.

Welsh drovers were famously hardy people, who walked with their livestock all the way from rural Wales to major English cities. By the late-18th century, the trade was well-established with thousands of cattle and sheep from Wales arriving to Smithfield Market every year for London customers.

Drovers’ routes became vital economic arteries for Wales. One of the most important routes followed the road now known as the A5, and it is this journey that meat promotion body HCC is re-creating, albeit with more modern modes of transport!

PGI Welsh Lamb, reared on the Rhug estate, will be delivered to a brand new restaurant at London’s Tower Bridge which has just been opened by the Welsh chef Tom Simmons, who has featured on Masterchef: The Professionals and is regarded as one of the UK’s finest up-and-coming chefs.

Tom will prepare delicious Welsh Lamb dishes for a gathering of some of England’s leading food writers and journalists to celebrate ‘Llamb’s Day’ - the August 1 landmark which is becoming established as a focus for promoting Welsh Lamb in the UK.

Welsh Lamb from Rhug is supplied to many of London’s leading restaurants, and exemplifies the highest standards of production and welfare in the Welsh farming industry. The lamb is bred on lush grass in Denbighshire, and all stages of processing takes place nearby.

“We take orders from chefs in the morning, the lamb is cut, packed and despatched that evening down to London in our own refrigerated van and delivered by a company with a fleet of vans around London early the next morning,” explained Rhug Estate’s owner Lord Newborough. “Chefs trust in the knowledge that the PGI Welsh Lamb they buy has complete security of provenance backed by sustainable farming methods producing healthy, delicious meat.”

“As with the drovers two hundred years ago the UK market – particularly in London and the south-east – is very important to the Welsh lamb industry,” HCC Marketing Manager Rhys Llywelyn explained. “PGI Welsh Lamb is available in more and more stores in England, and is particularly plentiful in the summer and autumn months. Our hope is to create a buzz around this high-quality product in the media.

“There’s a misconception among many consumers that spring is the best time to buy lamb,” said Rhys. “Last year we inaugurated ‘Llamb’s Day’ on August 1 to kick-off our summer and autumn marketing with a focus on seasonality. We aim to take advantage of the fact that more and more consumers demand quality, traceable produce with low food miles, and want consumers to be aware of the fantastic Welsh Lamb that’s available in their shops.”