Businesses in red meat industry are issued 'fitness' challenge

It is vital that in the wake of increasing costs currently impacting the red meat industry, every business throughout the supply chain examines its activities to make sure it is 'fit for purpose'.

It is vital that in the wake of increasing costs currently impacting the red meat industry, every business throughout the supply chain examines its activities to make sure it is 'fit for purpose', was the warning from Trevor Hanger, managing diretcor of Welsh Country Foods, at the recent HCC - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) conference at Llandrindod Wells.

Exploring the Welsh lamb sector Hanger said that there were many ways the industry could help itself and urged delegates to look at the "spike" of sales for Welsh Lamb as the new season begins and then the drop off in the autumn. "We must look at extending those sales," he added.

Businesses must strive to be 'best in class' he said and while urging companies to concentrate on product innovation and presentation Hanger felt it was also necessary for them to be clear about their target markets. Arguing that the industry must push for more space on retail shelves Hanger said: "We all need to challenge our customers for space. To drive demand we must ask our customers for space at the point of sale. The challenge to our customers is that we want more space for our lamb and for that lamb to be available to more of our customers, more of the time."

Looking at product innovation and presentation Hanger argued that products must be of the 'highest quality every time' and for that quality to then become the perception of the product.

"We have a great number of positives in the industry in Wales," he continued. "There is a huge consumer demand for Welsh Lamb, we have sustainability in price this year and the expansion of the UK ethnic market is one of the largest growth areas we have."

Having "some of the best processing plants in the world and the most efficient operations anywhere" as well as "a fantastic livestock supply base," Hanger said it was down to businesses to make sure they set themsleves targets and focused on the direction they wanted to go.

Referring to the processing sector Hanger said that there was still an "awful lot of work to do". "There is a lot of waste in our factories that add to our costs," he said. "At the end of the day we need to be more efficient in our plant operations and the usage and management of employees."

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