A research project that aims to make sure premium PGI Welsh Lamb has the highest possible consistency and quality for years to come has been launched by Hybu Cig Cymru -Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), with the help of a high-profile Michelin Star chef.
The Welsh Lamb Meat Quality Project will assess, develop and enhance the meat-eating quality of Welsh Lamb to secure its enviable international reputation, and ensure that future red meat production meets the demand of an ever-changing and increasingly discerning consumer, both at home and abroad.
The Project is part of HCC’s five-year, three-project, Red Meat Development Programme to help Welsh farming prepare for a post-Brexit world. It is supported by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
Michelin Star chef Gareth Ward, of Ynyshir Hall Restaurant and Rooms, helped mark the unveiling of the Meat Quality Project alongside HCC’s taste team led by Meat Quality Executive Dr. Eleri Price.
“This project is about ensuring Welsh Lamb’s global reputation is not only maintained but enhanced as we move into the post-Brexit trading world,” said Dr. Price.
“We are really delighted to have had such great support from Gareth Ward, a chef for whom excellence is an everyday watchword.”
Using a consumer-led tasting network, HCC’s team will set up the process for baseline assessment of the current supply chain practices, check for meat quality variation and then build an eating quality blueprint that will seek to drive consistency by identifying and influencing key practices throughout the sheep meat production and processing pathways.
Three, 120-strong Consumer Panel sessions are to take place in early 2020 and each volunteer at each session will taste test lamb samples sourced from different abattoirs and from different muscles. This information will be used to provide a valuable insight into lamb meat eating quality as samples will rated on tenderness, juiciness and flavour.
“We will aim for the project to increase consumer awareness and demand for lamb products, and seek to ensure that farming practices are efficient and are meeting quality requirements. Also, the Project will aim to enhance commercial shelf-life; help towards reducing wastage and greenhouse gases; and increase market resilience of the red meat sector in Wales. This can be achieved through an improved awareness of meat-eating quality and provide valuable information that could support future export market activities,” said Dr. Price.