Wednesday, 13 June 2012

British beef – the toast of Paris!


It sounds about as likely as England returning victorious from Euro 2012, but British beef is apparently fast becoming the ‘roast’ of Paris.

A recent BBC report, Could France learn to love British beef?, revealed what many would have thought unthinkable in the not-so-distant days of France’s unilateral ban on British beef – our product is, in fact, rather good and earning plaudits across the Channel. Praise indeed!

Well, we would say that wouldn’t we? Not our words though, but those of top butcher Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, who has set up a meat lab and hanging room beneath trendy 24-hour steakhouse, Le Beef Club, with all the beef coming from Britain. He’s also advocated that France copy the British approach, citing, among other things, breeding and selection techniques to produce meat that is more tender – topics covered extensively by our Better Returns Programme.

The esteemed Rosbifs Club, set up by EBLEX to help promote quality beef and lamb to influential food industry figures in France, has played a key role in showcasing beef produced under the Quality Standard Scheme. For a few years now our team has cultivated the special relationship with key players in the Rosbifs Club to promote British beef. Among other things, this work helped to secure the supply of British beef to Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec. Given the fact he is lauding British beef, this work is clearly paying dividends.

Looking at the bigger picture, UK exports of fresh and frozen beef to France have been in the ascendancy. And while the export volume to France has dipped slightly in the first quarter of 2012, largely due to lower production and the amount of beef available on the Continent, statistics for the same period each year since 2008 have shown a steady increase. Similarly, the value of fresh and frozen beef exports to France has also been on an upward curve – worth £12.5 million in the first quarter of 2012, compared to £11 million for the same period last year which is clearly encouraging.

Could France learn to love British beef? The signs are certainly pointing in the right direction.