17th January 2024

Making Scotland the Choice for Premium Red Meat in 2024

By Kate Rowell, Chair of Quality Meat Scotland

Like most Scottish farmers, we have found the weather to be a real challenge so far this year, and I can only hope that it improves. While we have been busy coping with its impact at home, the real high spot for me has been seeing QMS starting the year in such a positive way; 2024 will be the first full year of our new strategy and drive to make Scotland the choice for premium red meat.

One high profile part of this – which I hope many of you will have seen – is our new advertising campaign, which launched on 8 January and has had an overwhelmingly positive response. The 30 second advert is on STV, STV Player and Borders TV, alongside ads on You Tube, Facebook and Instagram and supporting info on QMS’s ‘Make It Scotch’ social channels. The campaign is focussed on communicating the inCREDible credentials of the Scotch and Specially Selected brands to Scottish consumers in a positive way – focusing on health, diet, quality assurance, locally sourced and product that is farmed with care.

As well as the advertising campaign, we have launched a comprehensive information pack, ‘Celebrating the positives of red meat’, available free to everyone. It has verified stats and key points, giving a consistent, fact-based narrative for Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork – a useful resource when you need it.

These two initiatives are a small part of the activity springing from QMS’s new five-year strategy that we launched at last year’s Royal Highland Show. I have enjoyed discussing the strategy, vision and plans with many of you at our recent workshops across the country, and have been delighted at the positive response from the 13 meetings.

We have set our mission to drive demand from consumers who recognise our brands as a mark of integrity. Implementing this will see us focus on three game-changing projects; developing a world-leading system for verifying eating quality of Scottish red meat; building a genomic database to help drive productivity and profitability and cement customer integrity; and focussing on marketing and communicating the integrity, provenance and sustainability of our brands.

Strategy work has already started in earnest, and 2024 will be a time of exciting developments. While our January launches have been fantastic, I am also delighted at the interest generated from the Scottish Development International COP 28 dinner in Dubai. The Middle East imports an average of £571m-worth of sheep meat each year, and such a positive response means QMS is returning to the region for the Gulfood event this February – the World’s largest food and beverage event, and a huge opportunity.

When we launched the strategy, I said that we, as an industry, needed to embrace a new attitude of confidence and unity, and I believe this is what we should strive for this year. There are many other countries competing for our markets, at home and overseas, but we are on the front-foot. We have an exciting, ambitious strategy, a brand story which is being strongly told and new opportunities already emerging in our drive to make Scotland the choice for premium red meat. Bring on 2024.

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