The first fortnight in May will be a marketing marathon for Wales’ red meat sector as it sets to promote PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef across three continents.
Welsh red meat will be showcased at trade events in Toronto, Milan and Hong Kong; three diverse markets that offer opportunities for the red meat sector.
SIAL Canada, held in Toronto from 30 April – 2 May 2019, is a major international tradeshow which attracts more than 1,000 exhibitors and hosts over 15,000 buyers.
Canada has been an important target market for the Welsh red meat sector from 2010 and the demand for Welsh Lamb and Beef has grown ever since.
Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) will join the UK's two other red meat levies, AHDB and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).
Pearse Dolan, President of wholesaler Dolan Foods, who will be attending the event, said: “Canadian butchers and chefs have been quick to recognise the quality that is so apparent in Welsh Lamb.
“The story of traditional Welsh sheep farming is one that resonates strongly in our marketplace; it’s a brand we’re very proud to sell.”
Italy is a well-established market for Welsh Lamb, and the country also has a growing appetite for Welsh Beef.
HCC will be at Tutto Food in Milan between 6-9 May, and will focus on maintaining relationships with existing customers as well as introducing the product to potential new buyers.
HCC’s export agent in Italy, Jeff Martin, said: “Tuttofood has established itself as the leading trade fair for red meat. Although early in the year, it is often the start of negotiations for the coming season and is attended by all the leading retailers and our main distributor partners.
“It should also be a good platform to reassure customers concerned about Brexit.”
Hofex, held in Hong Kong between 7-10 May, is Asia’s leading food and hospitality tradeshow. It is a platform for exhibitors to meet high-quality food and hospitality traders from all over the world.
HCC will be working alongside other UK levy boards at this event too, but will be reinforcing the messages and credentials of the Welsh brands.
According to importer and distributor Romeo Alfonso: “The platform offered by HOFEX has helped Welsh Lamb in reaching out to customers around Asia for more than 10 years.
“With the consistent support from HCC in the Hong Kong and Macau markets, Welsh Lamb has been recognised and respected as succulent, high-quality lamb, well accepted in top-notch restaurants and retail chains.”
HCC’s Market Development Manager, Rhys Llywelyn said: “Preparations are underway for a busy time ahead. We are looking forward to highlighting the start of the impending new season lamb period in three of our target markets as we seek to increase our exports of Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef.
“The markets in Canada and Hong Kong offer significant potential for Welsh red meat beyond the European Union. It is crucial that we explore this potential and bang the drum for Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef which are produced to an exceptionally high standard by farmers in Wales.”
He said that despite the uncertainty of Brexit, the red meat sector must not dismiss the importance of markets within the EU, which currently import around a third of the total production of Welsh Lamb.
“Visitors to Tutto Food will be given a flavour of our country’s iconic product and reminded of its Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) which is highly regarded in Italy and guarantees the quality, authenticity and integrity of the Welsh Lamb brand,” Mr Llywelyn said.