Welsh meat industry veteran retires

Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) marketing executive Graham Titchener is retiring after 43 years in the industry.

Titchener worked in the butchery trade for years before joining the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) in 1986 as a trade liaison officer, helping independent retailers to work closer together. He joined the newly-formed HCC in 2003.

During his career, Titchener has helped spearhead efforts to promote Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef across the world – with particular emphasis on the Middle and Far East – helping to open up new markets in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong in the process.

He has also worked closely with butchers, helping to set up HCC’s annual Product Evaluation Awards and devising promotional materials, including recipe booklets and posters, to help indepdendents drive up sales.

Titchener said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the industry. It has been good to me, and I am grateful for it.

“A lot has changed in the years since I started out. I feel particularly saddened by the decline in the number of independent butchers over the years, but that is due mainly to changing consumer habits, with more and more people eating out or buying ready-made meals instead of cooking from fresh.

“Things are changing once again, however, with celebrity chefs extolling the virtues of home cooking, encouraging people to choose fresh meat and develop their culinary skills. HCC has tried to help as much as possible by producing glossy recipe booklets and posters for distribution by butchers and producing consumer guides on how to buy and cook red meat, encouraging consumers to buy fresh.

“I strongly believe that the Welsh red meat industry has a positive future, because Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef are excellent products in their own right.

“But on top of that, Welsh processors and individual butchers have shown that they can innovate by combining Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef with other foods to create everything from convenience foods, such as pies and sausages, to providing new cuts to make the home cooking experience easier.”

Gwyn Howells, HCC’s chief executive, said: “I am sure that everyone in the industry wishes Graham well in his retirement. He has worked tirelessly to ensure the industry adapts to the ever-changing demands of consumers.”

Ieuan Edwards, of award-winning butcher’s Edwards of Conwy and a former Wales the True Taste Food Ambassador, said it had been a privilege to work with Graham over the years.

“Graham is a consummate professional and has a complete understanding of the industry,” he said. “It is very rare to find someone with the breadth of knowledge that he has, but who can also walk the talk and is just as comfortable behind a cutting table as he is behind a desk. He will be sorely missed by all within the Welsh red meat industry.”

Titchener will continue to work on a quality assurance programme for the red meat sector in the NHS in Wales.

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