REGIONALLY BRANDED medium-weight lamb carcasses are winning overseas retail space as Welsh abattoirs find new export opportunities.

Jim Gaffney, managing director of Powys-based Bennett‘s Welsh Lamb, said balancing price issues faced by consumers and promoting regional identity were key drivers in finding new markets for lambs falling between southern EU carcass trade (6-11kg deadweight) and UK retail spec (18-22kg).

“This was first trialled in the UK as a promotional item with supermarkets,” he said at last week‘s (w/e Oct 22) SIAL international food expo in Paris.

“We have now moved into French multiples on the same basis. At €45-€55 a half lamb, it is an attractive proposition compared with costs of individual joints.

“Use of protected regional identity for Welsh hill lamb and see-through box tops gives EU consumers confidence in what they are getting.”

A link with wholesale group Ovimpex had given access to French retail giant Carrefour. This saw 500 boxes a week exported during promotional periods, said Mr Gaffney.

The boxed product caught Belgium retailers‘ attention at SIAL, where talks over pricing were under way, he added.