Welsh meat strengthens EU ties with German focus

Although the nation may be prepping itself to divorce from the EU, august personnel from the Welsh red meat sector are strengthening connections with the Union. 

Moving into 2018, a major area of focus for the Welsh red meat levy board – Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) – will be the German market. 

According to HCC, Wales exports around a third of its lamb to the EU every year, with Germany highlighted as an increasingly important destination. HCC cited figured from HMRC on trade, representing an increase in UK lamb exports to Germany of 29% for the first half of this year.

HCC has been participating in a three-year EU-funded programme to raise awareness of PGI Welsh Lamb in Germany, which is now in its final stages. Germany’s wholesale and foodservice sectors have been the main focus point in delivering this strategy.

“This autumn has been an incredibly busy time in supporting our growing number of Welsh Lamb customers in the German market,” said HCC in-market agent, Patricia Czerniak.

“We took part at the MLF trade conference in Aachen, showcasing PGI Welsh Lamb in front of a key audience of high-end independent retailers from right across Germany, and also supported foodservice operators who have recently expanded their range of Welsh Lamb, including at a major fair in Dusseldorf.”

According to HCC, the meat sector is the most dominant of Germany’s food and drink industry, worth around 40 billion Euro. Germans are thought to consume 60kg of meat per year, believe HCC.

“We are delighted at the success that PGI Welsh Lamb is currently enjoying in Germany,” continued Czerniak. “By now, a number of key distributors offer Welsh red meat to their customers, including Transgourmet, Frische Paradies, Havelland Express and Schwamm & Cie mbh.”

Czerniak highlighted that many of the above mentioned listings are in premium ranges, demonstrating a demand for a range of cuts for high-end restaurants.

“Some of these companies also operate in other countries too, offering a way into Central and Eastern Europe for Welsh Lamb,” she added. “So long as free and unfettered trade can be maintained after Brexit in 2019, the future is bright for Welsh red meat in Germany and central Europe.”

Italian stallions

Closer to home, a selection of Italian meat importers visited Wales to experience the country’s supply chain.

During the visit, the delegates – all members of a large Italian meat importer and wholesaler – visited a Carmarthenshire farm, the Harbourmaster Hotel in Aberaeron where they were treated to a PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef dinner, a butchery demonstration from Aberystwyth butcher Rob Rattray and a cooking demo from HCC’s consumer executive Elwen Roberts.

HCC’s export executive, Deanna Leven, said: “We are delighted to welcome our Italian guests to Wales and to show them all that Wales has to offer and, moreover, the outstanding surroundings in which Welsh Lamb is produced. Our guests had the chance to meet the people behind the product and understand the story of Welsh Lamb.

“Trade mission initiatives such as this one have proven to be a successful way to encourage appreciation for Welsh Lamb and we hope that all of our guests will return to Italy as passionate Welsh Lamb advocates.” 

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