Associate Feature: We have some great stories to tell
As we’ve started to dip our toes back into normal life, many have recognised that the pandemic has had a quiet hero – red meat.
During the long weeks and months spent at home, people have turned to red meat to comfort them and experiment with hearty home-cooking, and to celebrate occasions at home.
There have been some extraordinary stories come out of this reconnection to red meat – from airline pilots becoming butchers, farmers selling direct to consumers, and a huge increase in sales – which demonstrates that, regardless of the noise and misinformation out there about its future, red meat is here to stay.
And although, as an industry, we can often feel under threat when discussions about climate change and agriculture start to swirl, this too should be welcomed.
It reflects the situation that we are now in, which is that we’re farming at a time when consumers increasingly want to engage with their food. They’re interested in understanding where it comes from and how it’s produced which is something farmers, for decades, have been crying out for.
Rather than launch a defensive battle, let’s take this opportunity to engage positively, inform properly, and tell our own story. We are in an excellent position to do so.
By buying Scotch, shoppers are not only eating quality red meat with full transparency at any stage of the supply chain, but they are helping to preserve Scotland’s iconic landscape, sustaining a vital industry that supports 50,000 jobs, and upholding generations of experience and embedded culture. Most importantly, they’re eating products that have impressive sustainability credentials.
Scotland has the perfect climate and landscape for producing top quality and sustainable red meat.
Over 80 per cent of Scotland’s agricultural land is grass and rough grazing, which is not suitable for growing cereals and vegetables.
This means that Scotland’s livestock consume the plants we can’t eat and in turn produce a product which we can – sustainable, nutritious and delicious grassfed Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb.
Scotland’s production systems also differ to other parts of the world. As part of a natural cycle, Scotland’s grassland absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and captures it in the soil, contributing to an important carbon sink with grasslands, preserved through livestock grazing, estimated to be able to store up to 500 tonnes of carbon per hectare.
Specifically, over the past decade, Scotland’s prime cattle producers have, through improved technology and management practices, reduced the time taken to produce Scotch Beef by 5.5 per cent whilst increasing the meat yield by 4.5 per cent.
This means that when consumers buy Scotch Beef they can be assured of its low emissions and sustainability, especially in comparison to international products.
In particular, Scotch Beef has one of the most sustainable GHG footprints at 18.7kg CO2 equivalent per kilogram of live weight, which less than half of the world average.
We should be proud in what we have, and continue to, achieve in producing world-class Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork.
In the run-up to COP26, QMS will be working in partnership with National Farmers Union Scotland and SAC Consulting to offer ‘Fact-Finding’ Farm visits in every parliamentary region in Scotland – giving our Scottish farmers the opportunity to showcase their efforts in the battle against climate change.
This article was sponsored by Quality Meat Scotland.