18th June 2015

Scottish Red Meat Industry has Fantastic Story to Tell

The Scottish red meat industry has a fantastic story to tell in terms of social, economic and environmental sustainability, according to Quality Meat Scotland chairman, Jim McLaren.

Speaking today (June 18th, 2015) at an industry breakfast on the opening morning of the Royal Highland Show, Mr McLaren urged the industry to fully recognize the value of its brands – Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork.

“The PGI (Protected Geographic Indication) status which goes with the Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb brands is hugely important. It allows us to market our meat and differentiate it in a way that few others can match,” said Mr McLaren.

He also highlighted the importance of the commitment of those who dedicate their lives to working in the Scottish red meat industry.   

“The dedication of those who work in our industry is a great asset but we need everyone working in each link of the chain to pull together – rather than wasting energy on seeking to find fault - to communicate all that is exceptional about our industry and our brands. The potential, if we do so, is huge,” said Mr McLaren.

“We have all the ingredients for success in a world which grows hungrier each year for high quality protein. We know that Scottish systems of livestock production are themselves less consumptive of protein which could otherwise be eaten by humans, such as grains and protein crops,” he observed.

“We know that in a world which is becoming short of water, Scotland and other high rainfall parts of the planet will become increasingly important food producing areas.

“We know that the carbon sequestered by growing grass, and the carbon stored in the soils below our permanent pastures make a positive contribution to mitigating the effects of climate change.”

He said it was true that those working in the Scottish red meat industry have very little control over many of the factors which can have a huge influence on individual businesses profitability – for example exchange rates, interest rates, weather and CAP reform.

“However, there are a great many aspects of our businesses that we can control. Our QMS industry development team is working hard on an impressive range of projects to help farmers lower costs and improve the efficiency of their businesses – from bench-marking initiatives to making the most of our grass.


“The appetite from the industry for this sort of information is very encouraging – for example we have had orders for almost 10,000 QMS grass sward sticks since we launched them a few weeks ago!” 


QMS has recently launched a pioneering “Animal Welfare and Wellbeing Charter” which highlights the commitment to animal welfare in the production of beef, lamb and pork.


Mr McLaren said the launch of the Charter also reflects the importance of animal welfare to the long-term growth of red meat production in Scotland and research undertaken by the QMS marketing team highlights consumers’ growing expectation of high welfare standards.


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