Meat bosses will back a new quality mark for English beef and lamb with a multi-million pound TV-led advertising campaign in the spring.
The campaign, which is part of a drive to give English red meat the sort of high profile enjoyed by Scottish and Welsh rivals, will run until 2007.
Speaking at the official launch of the mark, John Cross, chairman of the English Beef and Lamb Executive, claimed the scheme was a milestone for English beef and lamb.
“The Eblex Quality Standard scheme establishes for the first time a quality standard for English beef and lamb which will in effect become an English brand,” he said.
Andrew Garvey, Eblex head
of marketing, said key consumer concerns about consistency in the eating quality of red meat had been addressed.
“The quality standard addresses head-on factors such as tenderness, flavour and succulence and has set new requirements above the commercial and legal standards that currently apply to beef and lamb,” he said.
“The age of cattle for beef and seasonality in lamb are addressed as major aspects of the Eblex quality standard, as are the maturation periods for both meats - all factors which directly affect eating quality.”
Cross added that Eblex intended every part of the supply chain to benefit from the scheme. It had been designed to embrace the mainstream multiple sector as well as smaller and medium-sized abattoirs and independent butchers.
The mark will be restricted to meat from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in England. However, reflecting the fact that a lot of meat crosses borders in the UK at some stage, the mark will also be available for use in a British format, carrying the Union Jack instead of St George’s Cross.
Richard Clarke