Royal support for UK meat industry

The UK beef, sheep and pig industries are “again” major players in the global market, despite various setbacks over the last 15 years, the Prince of Wales wrote in a letter.

In his letter to foreign embassy staff and MPs in London last week, Prince Charles spoke highly of the UK’s red meat industry. The Prince’s words of support were read out by Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) chairman John Godfrey at an Eblex and Bpex export barbecue in Westminster.

“Our climate and geography produce some of the best grassland,” the letter read, “and this, coupled with our high standards of animal welfare, means we have a product of unrivalled quality, tenderness and taste. We are also able to boast robust assurance schemes, meaning there is full traceability within the meat supply chain. The last few months have thrown into sharp relief just how crucially important this is for retailers and, ultimately, for customers.”

It furthered that every single piece of meat was a product of generations of skills, passed down by farmers over many years. “By their skill and industry, [they] have created one of the most beautiful and iconic landscapes in the world,” he said of farmers.

Eblex sector director Nick Allen said it was “very encouraging” to receive such a positive message from Prince Charles. “Securing new export markets continues to be one of Eblex’s key strategies for beef and lamb. It is vital to a healthy global market, with cuts matched to where the markets are and production maximised where it is most efficient and sustainable,” he said.

From a starting point of zero in 2006, when exports of beef resumed, beef exports have grown by 16% and are valued at £388.9m a year. Meanwhile, exports of sheepmeat represent 36% of UK production and are worth £357.1m to the UK economy.