€4m invested in Welsh lamb exports

Welsh lamb leaders are hoping to boost consumption across European markets with a major €4m (£3.5m) new project.

The multi-million-pound promotion, which will run over three years, targets four key European markets – the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

Funding for the scheme, which will aim to promote the “unique qualities” of Welsh lamb, will be jointly provided by Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and a European Union fund to promote agricultural products.

Dai Davies, HCC chairman, announcing the news at the Royal Welsh Show this week, said: “This is excellent news, and the additional promotional work that we can now do on behalf of PGI Welsh Lamb can only reap benefits for farmers and processors here in Wales. It is hoped that by creating extra awareness of PGI Welsh Lamb among retailers and consumers, additional demand will be generated, which will boost business opportunities for processing companies in Wales.”

Laura Dodds, HCC’s market development manager, added: “This will strengthen our efforts to promote the qualities that earned Welsh Lamb the prestigious PGI status to millions more consumers across Europe.”

The cash, around £3.5m will be used to market Welsh Lamb to consumers through print and digital advertising, the establishment of individual micro websites, point-of-sale material in shops and recipe cards, HCC said. It will also be backed up by a public relations campaign in the four countries.

The funding will also allow HCC to attend international business shows and help finance trade missions by European retailers into Wales and by Welsh processors into Europe.

Dodds added: “The reason these countries have been specifically identified for this marketing drive is because a distribution network for Welsh Lamb already exists there and this gives us the opportunity to build on our existing trade.

“While consumption of lamb is well-established in France, Italy and naturally the UK, Germany is a developing market where we have helped establish a distribution network for the foodservice sector. The next stage there is to extend that supply chain deeper into the retail sector.”

A key part of the marketing campaign will be to further emphasise the benefits of PGI, she said.

“Research has shown that consumers in Italy have the highest awareness of what PGI means, followed by France, the UK and Germany. We aim to improve this situation through intensive marketing of PGI Welsh Lamb in all four countries over the next three years, improving the knowledge of consumers of the benefits of choosing PGI Welsh Lamb.”