Spending on red meat  is rising far quicker in Wales than the rest of Britain.

Figures published at the Welsh Winter Fair this week showed that beef sales rose 8% for the year ended 5 November, compared with only 1% nationwide. Lamb sales increased by 17%, while the boost in the volume of British sales was only 3%.

Rees Roberts, chairman of Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) said extra trading and higher prices had combined to push up the value of lamb sold in Wales by a “staggering” 40% over the last two years.

“The GB figure was only 3% up,” Mr Roberts reported. “The news from the beef side of the business is equally good with spending on beef in Wales up 7%.”

He linked the increases to effective HCC’s marketing and promotion activities on behalf of branded Welsh lamb and beef.

Welsh sheepmeat exports had also increased reflecting the fact that the industry was confidently developing new markets, something that would not have been possible before separate promotional efforts were brought under the HCC umbrella.

Mr Roberts announced that the success of a Welsh Beef Day, when 16 of 22 Welsh local authority caterers served branded locally produced beef, had led HCC to launch a project to build links with tourism businesses and food outlets.

Hotels, pubs, restaurants and other visitor related premises would be encouraged to label Welsh red meat products.

Farmers had to use available technology to enhance efficiency but they must also respond the fact that growing numbers of consumers were searching for red meats produced using traditional methods.

4Over 20,000t of beef was exported from the UK during the first nine months of the year, according to latest MLC figures. The organisation said monthly beef sales to the Netherlands had been growing rapidly since the export ban was lifted earlier year. Almost 1500t were sold in September.