Escalating excitement for Welsh Lamb in the US

An American meat buyer from a major importer has said that he is “very excited about Welsh Lamb!”

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) attended the two-day Taste Wales event, arranged by the Welsh Government, to further develop its relationships with influential buyers from UK supermarkets and countries across the globe, including the USA, Canada and Hong Kong.

The American market has been closed to lamb from Britain for many years, however work has been ongoing for a decade to re-establish the trade by HCC, working alongside the Welsh and UK governments. Taste Wales, the largest ever showcase of Wales’ food and drink industry was an opportunity to continue with ongoing discussions and explore trade channels with American buyers when restrictions are lifted.

During one of the ‘Meet the Buyer’ sessions, John Rodger from large-scale American distributor in retail and speciality markets, Atalanta, expressed a keen interest in exporting Welsh Lamb to the US once market access is granted. “We think the market has huge potential. We love the stories behind the product and the fact that it’s produced on traditional family farms. Our customers would love these stories too.”

Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef, sponsored by HCC, were dished out during a networking reception for the delegates to enjoy. Welsh Lamb was also served at the main event dinner on the opening night of Taste Wales. John Rodger added: “I thoroughly enjoyed the Welsh Lamb at the dinner.

“The UK is right up there in terms of importing to the US, and these products are distributed to country clubs, hotels and major retailers around the country. We already import Welsh cheese to the US, and have major dealings with the meat business. Hopefully, we’ll be selling Welsh Lamb to the US soon too!”

HCC’s Alex James, Export Market Development Executive said: “We were pleased to attend Taste Wales alongside some of Wales’ largest red meat processors. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet influential domestic and international buyers and promote red meat from Wales.

“Over the coming months, HCC is looking forward to continued good progress towards opening up market access to the USA. Previous research showed that the market could be worth £20 million a year to the Welsh red meat industry.”

A consultation on bringing American animal health rules in line with other countries was announced by the USDA last year, and earlier this year, red meat exporters, including representatives from the companies which own the three largest processing plants in Wales, visited Washington DC to learn more about US regulations for beef and lamb imports. The processors’ visit was organised by the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), of which HCC is a partner.