The conference, held in Aberystwyth, Wales, earlier this month, heard that Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) growing international influence in the red meat industry was evident. A string of “worldwide initiatives”, including marketing to other countries, has resulted in increasing sales to other territories, delegates at the conference were told.
Patricia Czerniak, HCC’s agent in Germany, described how Welsh Lamb has moved from being a “virtually unknown” commodity in 16 federal states to one of eight top brands at Anuga in less than a decade.
“HCC developed a marketing campaign, which differentiated Welsh Lamb from the rest of the lamb available in Germany,” she said. “We overcame prejudices that had existed since the war, when the taste of mutton was dominant, and we produced an emotive campaign that positioned Welsh Lamb as the top-quality product on the market.”
She also explained that the German market was “idiosyncratic”, with ethnic influences from Turkey and Italy, and said 90% of lamb was eaten during Germany’s Easter festival.
Yet, the meat is not only consumed domestically and Czerniak added: “Welsh Lamb is a niche product and it is now increasingly popular with Germany’s Michelin chefs. The German consumer understands the taste difference. Today I am very proud to say we are hitting the retail market, launching properly next year and I am confident we will double existing sales in very little time.”
Industry and market information officer John Richards mentioned Germany as one of the important territories for Welsh Lamb. “Central European exports have been a mainstay of HCC’s work since the red meat body was formed 10 years ago, with France heading the volume importers list and other retailers in Benelux, Spain and Greece also buying into the Welsh Lamb taste,” he said.
Meanwhile, the product is also reaching beyond Europe, and Richards highlighted Scandinavia, Russia, Canada, the USA and China as developing markets, which is where HCC hopes to make impressions in the coming years.