Average shelf-life of Welsh Lamb improved by up to 16%

A significant boost to the average shelf-life of PGI Welsh Lamb could improve the long-term competitiveness of the industry according to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

Previously, shelf-life figures had ranged from around 21 to 28 days, but figures collated from Welsh processors confirm a 16% improvement over the year, to an average of 33 days.

Some overseas producers have pioneered extending the shelf-life of lamb in recent years. Emulating this improvement has been identified as a key factor in helping Welsh Lamb’s competitiveness in the domestic retail market and in attracting new export customers.

HCC has worked at all stages of the supply chain in a bid to make it more resilient.

It has hosted training courses for farmers on best practice in terms of livestock presentation, and also worked with processing companies on improvements at abattoirs, cutting plants and in transportation.

“Improving shelf-life has been an important strategic aim, and it’s pleasing to have taken a significant step forward,” said HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells.

The shelf life figure varies somewhat between different cuts; some products now have a shelf-life of significantly longer than a month.

He continued to highlight that this is a great help in attracting new export customers, while also aids the industry in being able to achieve a consistent year-round supply to retailers in Britain.

“Since we started focusing on this area, many hundreds of farmers and agriculture students have attended our free courses on presenting livestock for slaughter,” Howells explained.

We’ve also worked hand-in-hand with Welsh processors, and are continuing this work through our Welsh Lamb Meat Quality project, which is part of the EU and Welsh Government funded Red Meat Development Programme.

Howells concluded by saying that HCC is determined to continue this momentum, with the hope of achieving even better results in years to come.