Traceability, technology and adding value to produce were the main topics for discussion at two forums organised by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat promotion Wales (HCC).

The aims of the regional forums were to support the Welsh red meat abattoir and processing sector, with representatives of the majority of Wales’ meat processors attending the meetings – at Pencoed, near Bridgend in south Wales, and Corwen in Denbighshire, in the north of the country.

Speakers at the events included personnel from HCC, the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Innovation Wales.

Those in attendance also heard from representatives of Cardiff Metropolitan University, who discussed the Welsh Government’s ‘Project Helix’ – a fund aimed at, among other things, assisting meat processing plants in creating new processes and reducing waste, according to HCC.

Meanwhile, speakers from the FSA went into detail about proposals to change the rules on carcass splitting – which, HCC says, have been widely welcomed within the industry – as well as other new regulations.

Speakers from HCC itself were also on hand to talk about the technology developments that, it says, help to underpin the traceability of protected geographical identification (PGI) welsh lamb.

This was an opportunity for HCC and various other bodies to engage with representatives of abattoirs and cutting plants, exchange ideas and ensure that they’re aware of all new opportunities that exist.

John Richards, HCC’s industry development and relations manager, said: “This is a challenging time for the sector, so it was important to hear about the innovation grants through Project Helix…in addition to relevant changes in regulations.”

One of the attendees who attended the events spoke positively of the experience, saying: “It was nice to have a meeting where other plant owners meet and discuss mutual matters. We consider attending these events and making contacts in the industry very important for the development of our business.