Strong provenance has been key to the success of Scotch whisky abroad, and it could be about to propel Scotch meat into the European limelight too. In June 2012, Quality Meat Scotland was awarded a €3m EU grant to promote Scotch beef and lamb on the Continent.
“We’ve been given the money over three years to promote Scotch beef and lamb in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Italy,” says Laurent Vernet, head of marketing at Quality Meat Scotland, the body working to improve the profitability of the Scottish red meat industry. “We’ll raise awareness at consumer level with press advertising and we’ll meet with importers and bring them to Scotland for tasting.”
In 2004 Scotch beef became the first European red meat to be awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. Later that year Scotch lamb also won PGI status.
PGI status is invaluable when trading in the EU. “It brings the meat in line with other quality, premium products such as Parmesan and Parma Ham,” says Vernet, adding that it is also useful in light of the horsemeat scandal because of the 100% traceability guarantee it offers.
“We’re now benefiting from the type of consumer who is less sensitive to price inflation and more sensitive to the ethical aspect of food,” he explains. “Supermarkets have been increasing the number of PGI products they stock since the horsemeat scandal. The scandal has brought new consumers to the market who’ll keep coming back.”
Mark Thomson, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel, adds: “Scotch Beef is a great example of a strong brand within the fresh meat category, in a year when consumers are seeking trust and traceability.”
Value sales of fresh red meat are up 3.9% in Great Britain overall and 3.7% in Scotland [Kantar], thanks primarily to price increases.