WELSH Beef consumers appreciate knowing that their food comes from trusted farms, according to research.

The findings were revealed in an online cross-industry meeting, hosted by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and scientific product origin experts Oritain, who have recently announced a partnership which will provide an additional layer of reassurance to an already strong system of traceability from farm to fork.

HCC Market Development Manager Rhys Llywelyn explained to an audience of retailers, food scientists and industry experts that the positive reputation of PGI Welsh Beef, at home and abroad, is linked to the trust that consumers have in its origin on high-welfare, low-intensity Welsh farms.

He cited a survey of Welsh consumers undertaken jointly with the Welsh Government which showed that the most positive associations that shoppers had of the Welsh Beef brand were that it was home-grown and high-quality.

80% of consumers were keen to purchase Welsh Beef in order to support Welsh farmers, while a majority also said that freshness, low food miles and superior taste was also a factor in choosing to buy beef from Wales.

90% of shoppers in Wales said they would always choose Welsh Beef if there was no difference in price, but many also said they’d be willing to pay extra for top quality local produce.

Rhys said, “Understanding the origin of foods is perhaps more important than ever for many consumers. Welsh Beef has a positive story in terms of people’s trust in our farming methods, and appreciation of the meat’s quality.

“In order to be able to promote this brand, consumers have to have confidence that what they buy is what they get, and we’re delighted to be partnering with Oritain to give an extra layer of scientific verification which puts Welsh red meat among the best in the world in terms of traceability.”

Alongside a strong system of inspections and checks which has been in place since Welsh Beef achieved the coveted PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) designation in 2002, it is now possible to test a piece of beef from any stage in the supply chain and assess if it came from Wales, thanks to Oritain’s award-winning technology. A similar partnership was inaugurated with PGI Welsh Lamb in 2018.

Oritain’s Stew Whitehead explained, “Our method relies on analysing the trace elements and isotopes that the animal absorbs from its natural environment on the farm. By doing this we can come up with a unique ‘fingerprint of origin’ for Welsh Beef, and provide reassurance to customers in Wales and worldwide that the traceability of the product is second to none.”

Further information on the traceability of Welsh Beef and Welsh Lamb can be found at https://meatpromotion.wales/en/about/what-we-do/pgi-certification/world-first-for-welsh-lamb-through-origin-fingerprint-technology, and the industry webinar can be watched again at https://meatpromotion.wales/en/news-industry-info/hcc-tv