Work done across the agriculture and food industry to lengthen the average shelf-life of PGI Welsh Lamb is continuing to pay dividends.
Increasing shelf-life has been identified as a key driver in helping Welsh lamb’s competitiveness in the domestic retail market and in attracting new export customers.
During 2020-21 the sector achieved an improvement of 10% despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, to an average of 36.5 days.
The progress comes on top of a 16% improvement in 2019-20. Previously, shelf-life figures ranged from around 21 to 28 days.
In leading the industry towards these improvements, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has worked at all stages of the supply chain.
“As it has become ever more important to export to markets outside of Europe, improving shelf life is an important strategic aim,” said HCC industry development manager John Richards.
“The shelf life figure varies somewhat between different cuts; some products now have a shelf life of significantly longer than a month, which is a great help in attracting new export customers."
But extending shelf life also helps in achieving a consistent year-round supply to retailers in Britain, Mr Richards explained: "It’s doubly pleasing to see this continued improvement."
Despite the improvement in shelf life in Wales, New Zealand still remains the global standard.
Lamb there has a shelf life of over 60 days for vacuum packed chilled lamb and up to 110 days for CO2 gas flushed lamb.