Doors open on new red meat consumer research programme

The doors will open this week to admit the first of nearly 2,000 UK consumers that will take part in a new research programme that aims to make sure premium PGI Welsh Lamb keeps its status as a top global taste.

Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is leading a five-year Red Meat Development Programme to help Welsh farming prepare for a post-Brexit world. The new consumer programme will look to assess, develop and enhance the meat-eating quality of Welsh Lamb and secure its enviable international reputation.

The tasters’ network will help HCC to set up the process for baseline assessment of the current supply chain practices.

The network will also check for meat quality variation and then build an eating quality programme that will seek to drive consistency by identifying and influencing key practices throughout the sheep meat production and processing pathways.

Meat quality executive Dr. Eleri Thomas, who leads HCC’s in-house taste programme team, explained: “We will be seeking to ensure that future red meat production meets the demand of an ever-changing and increasingly discerning consumer, both at home and abroad.

This project is about ensuring Welsh Lamb’s global reputation for excellence is not only maintained but enhanced as we move into the post-Brexit trading world.

The Welsh Lamb Meat Quality Project is supported by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020. It is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

This work is in conjunction with world-leading meat scientists based at the Agri-Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI) who will host the first of the three 160-strong consumer panel sessions that are to take place in the next six weeks.

Each volunteer will taste test lamb samples sourced from different abattoirs and from different muscles. This information will be used to provide valuable insight into lamb meat-eating quality as samples will be rated on tenderness, juiciness and flavour.

Each consumer will also attend a presentation that will tell them of Welsh Lamb’s nutritional values and sustainable production and they will receive free advice on how to cook it and recipes that make for quick suppers or leisurely lunches.

“We expect an improved awareness of meat-eating quality to be achieved through this project,” said Dr. Thomas.

“That will help to increase consumer awareness and demand for lamb meat products and also seek to ensure that farming practices are efficient, are meeting quality requirements, benefit commercial shelf-life, help towards reducing wastage and greenhouse gases and increase market resilience of the red meat sector in Wales.”