Editor's Comment by Ed Bedington

It has been a busy couple of weeks in the meat industry. Lamb prices continue to evoke mixed feelings, with rapturous joy among the farming community and bleak despair among retailers and processors. And the debate shows no signs of slowing down.

Farmers have had a tough time of it in recent years on lamb, and it's great to see them making some solid gains some for the first time in years. But that cannot be a short-term situation, and with many consumers simply unable, or unwilling, to pay the high prices currently being asked for lamb, short-term is all it will be.

The environment has also hit the headlines again this time with yet another retailer deciding to shoot itself and the supply-base in the foot by backing the facile 'Meat Free Mondays' campaign, instigated by some old pop-star or other. This campaign is quite possibly the most ill-thought-out and ridiculous scheme we have yet seen, and has the potential to increase meat waste, not cut consumption.

Eblex has some interesting information on consumer attitudes to meat and the environment, a preview of which was given at its successful Outlook conference recently and we shall be carrying more detail on that research in the next issue, which will be devoted to the environmental debate.

Meat Trades Journal is also conducting its own straw poll to assess industry attitudes to that issue and we're keen to find out your thoughts on the matter. Whether you feel the debate is over-blown, or whether the sector needs to take the situation more seriously, we'd be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete our simple multiple-choice survey on www.meatinfo.co.uk (see the front-page news item) to give us your views. It will be interesting to see how industry rates the challenges ahead of us.

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