Firm Encouraged by latest numbers

Encouraging figures on exporting lamb into Europe and increasing consumer interest in West Country spring lamb in the domestic market has led a Sommerset-based neat processor tp maximise new business opportunities.

Encouraging figures on exporting lamb into Europe and increasing consumer interest in West Country spring lamb in the domestic market has led a Sommerset-based meat processor to maximise new business opportunities.

Export statistics released by the Meat and Livestock Commision (MLC) have led the red meat processor, Southern Counties Fresh Foods, to expand its marketing and sales operation in order to benefit from new export and home market opportunities, for Westcountry lamb producers. SCFF and its sister company Romford Wholesale Meats are part of the Hilton Food Group. SFFC Producer Club anticipates significant interest for spring Westcountry lamb, a regional speciality, in both the UK and export markets.

The figures from the MLC for January to September 2006 show a seven per cent increase in lamb exports in Europe. France leads the sheep meat export market, importing 41,000 tonnes of the 51,700 tonnes exported. Exports have also increased to Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Germany and Belgium.

Richard Phelps, managing director SCFF, said: "This is very good news for South West lamb producers looking for new supply partnerships this spring. We are fortunate to have a proactive export division and are working hard to develop new opportunities in Europe, as well as in the UK market. The Westcouney produces some of the finest lamb in the UK. New season lambs, naturally reared on milk and grass, are in much demand, home and abroad. Easter brings a large requirement and we are well placed to maximise this for South West producers."

Three new members of staff join the expanding marketing and sales teams, who, between them, have over 25 years experience in livestock and procurement and sales.

Jon Kearns joins the company as SCFF sales manager, supported by fieldsman Robert Partridge (South Devon) and John Bailey (Dorset). All three specialists previously worked for Lloyd Maunder in the lamb operation at its Willand plant in Devon, which closes on Friday February 24.

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