Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is aiming to use the high profile that the FIFA World Cup will give to Wales to promote the country’s leading food export – PGI Welsh Lamb – in two key markets, and it has secured additional funding from Welsh Government towards the programme.
The promotional drive, which is in addition to HCC’s existing marketing work, will focus on raising Welsh Lamb’s profile in Qatar, the host country of the World Cup in the autumn, and the USA, whose team are part of the same qualifying group as Wales.
Both markets are strategically important for Welsh sheep farmers. The historic ban on exporting lamb from the UK to the USA was lifted earlier this year. Qatar, along with other nations in the Middle East, has proven to be a fruitful market in recent times, with exports increasing and several high-end restaurants and retailers stocking Welsh Lamb.
The work will be supported with a grant of £100,000 from the Welsh Government, and is likely to involve co-ordinated promotion around key events such as the Wales v USA game on 21 November.
The value of Welsh Lamb exports to Qatar grew five-fold in the two years leading up to 2020. The promotional plans will aim to renew this growth after Covid disruptions, as well as kick-start trade to the USA, where exports are due to begin in the second half of 2022.
HCC’s Market Development Manager Rhys Llywelyn said,
“We’re grateful to the Welsh Government for their willingness to work hand-in-hand to take this opportunity to grow Welsh Lamb’s presence in these two key markets, and the grant will help make an impact around the World Cup and dovetail with our existing promotional activities in both north America and the Middle East.
“The Wales football team’s efforts in reaching the finals has been inspiring. Their efforts will put Wales on the map throughout the world, so we’re determined not to miss out on the opportunity. It’s estimated that half the world’s population will watch the World Cup finals.
“Welsh Lamb is our iconic high-quality food export. It’s already available in top retailers and hotels in Qatar, and we’ve been laying groundwork with American importers for some years in preparation for the opening of the US market this year.”
Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths said:
“We are pleased to be supporting Hybu Cig Cymru’s efforts in promoting our exceptional Welsh Lamb. Wales qualifying for the World Cup, our first since 1958, is an amazing achievement and the tournament presents great opportunities to showcase our fantastic produce.
“Wales had the largest percentage increase in the value of food and drink exports out of the four UK nations between 2020 and 2021 and we will continue to work with our partners so more people around the globe can enjoy the high quality food and drink Wales has to offer.”