Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is adapting its work to develop overseas markets for PGI Welsh Lamb, as key trade shows are rearranged as virtual events during the global Coronavirus pandemic.
This week, HCC is part of a Welsh Government presence at the SIAL Canada food exhibition, normally an annual event held alternately in Montreal and Toronto, but this year becoming a virtual platform.
Welsh Lamb has been promoted at SIAL Canada since 2018 as part of HCC’s programme to build new markets beyond the EU, helped by investment by Welsh Government through the £1.5m Enhanced Export Fund.
Although still a small export market, lamb sales to Canada have been growing. Welsh Lamb has featured with a number of high-end retailers and foodservice providers in recent years. So far in 2020 the value of UK sheepmeat exports to Canada has grown by 440% compared with the same January to July period last year.
HCC’s Export Development Executive Deanna Jones said;
“Restrictions on travel and events mean that our programme of export promotion has had to be adjusted significantly this year. However we’re pleased to be joining Welsh Government in having a presence at the SIAL Canada virtual trade show.
“The Canadian export market is in an early stage of development, but it has encouraging potential. With continued work, we’re hopeful that Welsh Lamb can find its niche in quality retail and trade outlets across the country.”
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said:
“I am very pleased to note that there will be a continued Welsh presence at this year’s SIAL Canada virtual trade show.
“Virtual festivals such as these have played a vital role in the food and drink sector’s response to the ongoing challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and they provide an excellent opportunity for stakeholders to meet and network.”
The Minister added:
“The red meat sector is of huge importance to Welsh agriculture and the economy. As we prepare to leave the European Union, international events such as these allow our producers to explore important new overseas markets, and continue to promote the reputation of Welsh lamb internationally.”