SAMW experts promote need to stay positive

'Staying Positive' was the message at the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers' (SAMW's) annual conference, held at the weekend to discuss recent hurdles in the industry. On Saturday, guests in Edin-burgh were given the chance to hear six experts speak on these topics and how to overcome them. Allan Jess, president of the SAMW, highlighted that staying totally positive at a time of great pressure for the meat industry would be difficult. And he showed his disappointment at some of the challenges the industry had to face. "We must not forget that we have a great industry, produce some extremely high-quality products and play a major role in Scotland's economy," he said. "It could be made easier, however, given a bit more help and understanding from certain quarters." Ian Reynolds, deputy chair of the Food Standards Agency and chair of the Meat Hygiene Service's (MHS) board, discussed inspections within the industry and also advocated greater partnership between the MHS and meat plant operators and for current hostilities to end, so that real benefits could be delivered to the industry. Jean-Luc Meriaux, secretary general for the European Livestock and Meat Trading Industry (UECBV), gave a review on the situation on the EU sheep, goat, beef and veal market. He discussed some of the future challenges in the industry from disease and indirect losses. He also discussed rising feed prices, export and import of meat balance and consumption trends. "Do not be ashamed as an industry. The red meat industry will have time to catch up and plenty of opportunity to expand money coming in and business going forward," was the message from Donald Biggar, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland. He also noted that, in the last 10 years, Retail Price Index figures have gone up by 30% and food inflation has increased by 16%, but red meat inflation has risen by just 8%.