Welsh lamb leading the way among climate-conscious consumers, according to major survey

As the Taste Wales food fair opens its doors, a major survey has found that Welsh-branded lamb is a top-scoring brand with the British public, being comfortably better-regarded than meat which carries the Union Jack, and is widely recognised by consumers for being produced in tune with the environment.

The representative survey of 1000 consumers from across the UK found that, when asked what kind of lamb tasted best, twice as many people answered Welsh Lamb (47%), as opposed to British Lamb (23%). Over half of respondents – 56% – thought that the best restaurants would serve Welsh Lamb, again far higher than those saying that they would serve British-branded lamb.

Welsh Lamb scored particularly positively in terms of consumer perceptions of its environmental credentials and farming methods.

54% of respondents said that Wales was the most ‘natural’ place to rear lamb, as opposed to 27% answering that they perceived Britain as a whole to be most natural. 64% said that they believed Welsh Lamb was produced on small family farms (against 43% for British lamb) and also scored almost twice as well as Britain as a whole when asked if they believed the animals had lived happy lives.

A large majority of consumers were able to identify one of the key features of sheep farming in Wales – its non-intensive, pasture-based production system. 81% of survey respondents agreed that lambs reared in Wales were mostly fed on grass, while 75% answered that they believed lambs were able to roam freely.

The figures have come as a boost to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), the organisation tasked with promoting the Welsh Lamb brand since 2003.

HCC’s Market Development Manager Rhys Llywelyn expressed delight at the survey results.

“Our strategy has been to play on Welsh Lamb’s strengths – its quality, trust in farming methods, and the sustainable way in which it is produced,” said Rhys. “The results of this survey shows that the message is getting through to consumers across Britain, with the result that the Welsh Lamb brand is extremely strong.”

Pointing to recent surveys which showed that people in Britain would be willing to pay up to 12% more for sustainably-produced food, Rhys said that the findings on Wales’s environmentally-sensitive farming methods were particularly encouraging.

“It’s more important than ever that consumers know that the Welsh way of rearing livestock is a world away from some of the factory-farming practices overseas,” he explained. “Welsh Lamb is very well placed for the future, given that is scores so highly in this survey on issues such as sustainability and animal welfare.”

Rhys added, “We’ve seen encouraging support for retailers for Welsh Lamb in recent months, with a number of premium stores increasing their range and purchasing. Consumers and retailers alike see the value in the distinctive Welsh brand.”

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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.