Levy board launches revamped quality assurance scheme

The Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Beef & Lamb introduced its new Quality Standard Mark (QSM) Scheme revamp with the help of a new scheme ambassador. 

The QSM Scheme gives customers the assurance that the beef and lamb they are purchasing is of the highest quality, is fully assured and independently inspected. All products bearing the mark are chosen after adhering to a strict selection process that ensures the meat is succulent and tender.

Delegates at the event, which took place at the prestigious Stoke Park, were taught how, by offering a modern and uniform branding across marketing materials and online, the QSM Scheme update is designed to drive growth in the QSM beef and lamb retail market and to increase supply chain engagement. This includes dialogue with catering and independent butchers.

The scheme’s latest ambassador, Chris Wheeler (pictured, right), was on hand to lead an interactive cooking masterclass. Wheeler recently appeared on the TV series Great British Menu and is the current Hotel Cateys Chef of the Year. Butcher Jim McPhie, from ABP Group, was also in attendance to host a butchery masterclass.

“At a time when consumers’ demand for quality, traceability and provenance is at a high, I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to represent the Quality Standard Mark, which acts as a consumer guarantee across the retail and foodservice sectors,” said Wheeler. “Competition is fierce so it’s great to have something that adds value and differentiates your offer.”

The relaunch is being led by recently appointed quality scheme manager Karl Pendlebury (pictured, left). Having previously worked with Asda, and as an auditor for assurance schemes such as Red Tractor, he brings with him an extensive industry knowledge. One of his key priorities will be to drive the consumer category for buying meats with quality assurance marks.

“Consumers are becoming more concerned about where their food comes from,” he explained. “There is a great opportunity for retailers and foodservice operators, such as Chris, to drive profits by stocking QSM beef and lamb and telling consumers about it.

“Factors such as quality, taste, food safety and animal welfare are increasingly influencing consumer purchasing decisions, and consumers are looking for these assurances on both packaging and menus. The QSM Scheme is an easy way to give them what they want.”

According to recent AHDB YouGov research, 51% of people believe meat with a quality assurance mark is worth paying more for, with 61% willing to fork out more for quality.

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