Environmental credentials make Welsh Lamb a hit in Belgium

New figures show that Welsh Lamb exports to Belgium have increased by 17% over the past two years, with the sector’s reliance on pasture a major selling point.

Marketing in the country concentrates on the product’s positive story in terms of sustainable farming methods, which are in tune with the Welsh landscape.

The industry’s outstanding traceability backed by the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) designation has also been a major point of interest.

One new Belgian company stocking Welsh Lamb is Bio-Planet, an organic supermarket chain committed to sourcing food produced to the highest standards of sustainability and animal welfare.

Christiaan Beerens from Bio-Planet visited the Royal Welsh Show earlier this month.

“I have visited Wales on many occasions,” he said. “In addition to taking in the Royal Welsh Show, which is such a great showcase for the Welsh agricultural industry, I have also visited many other parts of rural Wales. I have therefore become familiar with how PGI Welsh Lamb is produced, and have sampled it from local butchers and restaurants. It’s a product that we’re proud to add to our range.”

Welsh Lamb is also available in Belgium and Luxembourg through other outlets such as La Provencale and clients of the Good Meat importer.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) export development officer Kate Patten explained that telling the story of Welsh Lamb is vital in attracting discerning customers.

“Like consumers in many parts of Western Europe, prospective Welsh Lamb customers in Belgium are keen to know the story behind their food,” she said.

“In Wales, livestock are reared to very high standards of sustainability. Our non-intensive, high-welfare farming systems are therefore a vital part of our promotional drive, as well as the PGI designation which is highly regarded as a mark of provenance and traceability.

In addition to promotional activities, HCC has been active in promoting Welsh Lamb in Belgium through events such as the Horecatel trade exhibition, and through the dedicated welshlamb.be website.