Highlanders secure a beef premium from Sainsbury’s

A group of Scottish livestock farmers have boosted their margins by as much as 10% by collaborating with Sainsbury’s to launch a premium meat brand.

A hundred beef and lamb producers in the north Highlands are supplying fresh meat under the Mey Selections brand to 23 stores in England.

Beef farmer Danny Miller said it is not a market that his meat would normally reach.

“It gives us feedback from the customer, and that’s what farmers miss.”

It also pays well, with beef producers like Mr Miller pocketing a 5% to 10% premium for R4L steers.

At today’s values, that equates to a deadweight price of 200-210p/kg.

Mr Miller’s meat is hung for 21 days and retails at 60% more than unbranded meat.

A kilo of his beef fillet costs 29.99.

Most of the 80 beef animals slaughtered each week are Native or Continental cross, though Mr Miller said his were all three-quarter bred Angus.

“We could have gone down the breed-specific route, but it would have meant starting much smaller and later.”

Henrietta Green of Food Lovers’ Fairs said that could prove a mistake if shoppers ended up with Charolais cross one week and Simmental the next.

“I am concerned by the extent to which they can deliver consistent quality using different crossbreeds.”