This article was written by Isaac McLean, who undertook a summer placement with MacRoberts in 2023.
After a tumultuous period filled with uncertainty from Brexit (and the accompanying UK exit from the EU single market), the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis, the Scottish red meat sector has triumphed in its contribution to both the food security of Scotland and Scotland’s farming economy.
With success comes new strategy filled with vitality and spirit – new initiatives from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) envisage a continued prosper within the industry.
A recent report from QMS demonstrates a 5% rise in turnover for the third consecutive year from red meat processing – a resulting £926m in output was generated for the Scottish economy. The volatility of surrounding events has therefore certainly not proven to be a hindrance to the sector’s growth.
The growth in beef-generated revenue is speculated to be as a result of the decreased revenue streaming from sales of lamb and pork. A separate independent report illustrated that the Scottish sector outperformed the rest of the UK by £130m in production and £124m in retail performance during the period 2016 to 2022.
In response to the recent successes, the QMS has now released its brand new five-year strategy for the Scottish red meat sector. Focusing on provenance, productivity and profitability, the strategy looks to the continued development of the sector. It is hoped the launch of three ‘game-changing’ projects will benefit the consumer.
A wish for consumers to recognise Scottish red meat brands as synonymous with the values of integrity and sustainability is at the centre of the plan. The design behind the three projects aims to boost brand integrity, secure funding for a verification system for the quality of Scottish red meats as well as advancing work on genomics.
Kate Rowell, Chair of QMS, stressed the recent volatility, resulting from Brexit and a war in Europe, as being key in driving forward the new strategy for the sector. She also cited “the ongoing climate emergency” as a key consideration. Moreover, Ms Rowell stated that “food security pressures are growing and, closer to home, wholesale change to agriculture policy is on the horizon”. This demonstrates the importance of planned-proactivity in relation to red meat production.
The “ambitious” plans showcase the levy board’s passion for the industry and its faith in the industry’s prospects for the Scottish economy. The focus QMS is paying to the red meat sector will hopefully mean that the sector continues to bear fruit – or meat – for years to come!
Food & Drink at MacRoberts
From field to fork, MacRoberts is engaged with every stage of increasingly complex and dynamic supply chains, providing expertise and specialist legal services to businesses across the food & drink sector.
To find out how we can assist your business, please get in touch with a member of our Food & Drink team.