As the world gears up to compete for high value UK retail market access, levy bodies must also gear up to be able to deliver on behalf of businesses within their supply chains.
With this in mind, as we announced at the Royal Highland Show, QMS is holding industry workshops throughout Scotland during November and December to discuss the delivery of our five-year strategy and, as agreed by the QMS board, a proposed levy increase to fund this vital work.
These workshops are an opportunity to hear how we will make Scotland the choice for premium red meat, and how we will continue to support the sector. QMS has not requested a levy increase since 2010, and we want to remain fit for the future of Scotland's iconic Scotch brands, promotional work and market development.
To continue to deliver good value for money and integral support to Scotland's red meat supply chain, as well as to ensure that rising costs are managed, we are proposing a new mechanism for setting the levy from Spring 2024, adding a small inflationary rise each year to ensure our financial model remains sustainable. This mechanism will be reviewed at the end of the five years, to ensure it remains fit for purpose.
As we are already seeing, the Scottish red meat sector faces growing global competition, with many countries targeting the high value UK market, as well as our export markets. We need to gear up to be able to deliver on behalf of the red meat supply chain from farm to fork.
We have not requested a levy increase since 2010, and everyone is aware of the substantial global inflationary pressures; both of these have combined to reduce our ability to invest at a time when Scotland’s red meat sector faces increasing competition and pressure. A recent independent QMS Impact Review shows that in the period 2018-2021, before current inflationary pressures, the static levy eventually led to a £1m shortfall in spending power over the four year period.
We want to ensure the iconic Scotch brands thrive, and to continue vital work to drive productivity and profitability, domestic and international promotional activity plus critical market development work. A sufficiently-funded sector-specific body is essential in order to deliver these aims and ensure our industry’s future potential is not compromised.
When we launched our five-year strategy at the Highland Show, we made it clear that for us to act as a catalyst in the market, we need to be arrow-focussed on where we can make the most difference.
We are now ruthless and commercial in our focus, with three pillars of work which define our activity over the next five years, fostering profitable and innovative supply chains to make Scotland the choice for premium red meat.
We have clear targets and a transparent way of tracking and measuring the impact of everything we do. You can see more about the strategy here.
A high proportion of levy income (75%) is spent on marketing and promotion of Scottish red meat, followed by industry development.
Independent research as part of the Impact Review 2023 found that QMS’s investment in marketing and communications has seen a net return for Scotland’s red meat sector of £6.85 for each £1 of levy spent. This work includes wide-ranging marketing and advertising such as our ‘Make It With Cred’ consumer campaign which reached 73% of 18-39 year olds in Scotland, as well as education toolkits, reputation management, myth-busting publications for the COP26 and COP27 events, and resources to help the sector communicate around topics such as Veganuary.
The levy increase will be based on an annual calculation of the consumer price index (CPI), which looks likely to be between 6.5%-7% for this year. There will be an annual ‘brake’ to sense check for extreme market conditions or levels of inflation, and a full review after five years to ensure it is fit for purpose.
This will result in a small inflationary increase each year, operating like a CPI ‘tracker’. It will ensure we can continue to deliver good value for money and integral support to Scotland's red meat supply chain, as well as ensuring that rising costs are managed.
The current and proposed rates are in the table below, alongside those of HCC (Meat Promotion Wales) and AHDB for comparison. Levy payers in England and Wales are also being consulted, or have been consulted, on changes to their levy rates with organisations taking approaches based on their strategy.
In 2024/25, the annualised CPI rate is likely to be in the region of 6.5-7%. The final figure will be collated in February and applied for a 1 April start.
The tables below summarise the changes to levy rates that are being proposed across the UK.
The first table shows levy rates in 2023/24.
The second table shows levy rates in 2024/25 with HCC’s new rate and AHDB’s proposed new rate applied.
The third table shows levy rates in 2024/25, this time with QMS’s proposed rate based on expected CPI levels.
A series of evening workshops across Scotland will give all levy payers an opportunity to find out more about QMS’ current marketing activity, hear about our plans for the future as well as to ask questions about our strategy as we are keen to encourage respectful debate and listen to ideas.
Each workshop will cover:
The evening events (7pm-9pm) will be hosted throughout Scotland to give as many levy payers as possible the chance to engage. Attendance is free, but places must be booked in advance. Dates and venues are:
Bookings can also be made by calling the QMS office tel: +44 (0)131 510 7920
As the public body responsible for helping the Scottish red meat sector improve its efficiency, sustainability, integrity and profitability, and to maximise its contribution to Scotland’s economy, we welcome respectful debate.
You can also ask questions and give your opinion via email or post. The addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to QMS Levy Workshops, Quality Meat Scotland, Rural Centre, West Mains, Ingliston, Newbridge EH28 8NZ. Please ensure your feedback is received by 15 January 2024.
This is our vision for the future. Ambitious, bold, it reflects both the passion we have for the red meat supply chain we work on behalf of and our belief in its potential.