4 August 1995

London sales tripled

LAMB sales more than tripled in ASDAs London stores when Welsh Lamb Enterprise (WLE) showed its face in the supermarkets car parks with three new lamb dishes this spring.

Sales were also maintained at 15% above previous levels for a number of weeks after the promotion. And this was not at the expense of other meats, revealed WLE chief executive Nick Zalick.

Nearly 4500 Welsh producers contribute a 5p a breeding ewe levy to the co-operative marketing group. The promotional budget is then topped up to £600,000 a year through a 1.5p a carcass levy paid by abattoirs and funds from sponsorship and the national statutory levy.

Aided by this fund, WLE has also helped promote Welsh lamb abroad. Sales into southern Europe are now earning producers an average £25 a lamb from a market which hardly existed 10 years ago.

Nearly 65% of the lamb produced in Wales was exported to a value of £107m in the 1994/95 marketing year, said Mr Zalick. This is forecast to increase by a further 8% over the next year.

The Spanish market alone is predicted to consume 8500t of Welsh lamb this year. "We want to further secure our customer base by ensuring the product is branded clearly and prominently. At the same time we aim to widen our distribution base," said Mr Zalick.

Branded markets are to be developed in France and Belgium for the first time later this year. All cutting, trimming and packing will continue in Wales.