BRANDED BEEF from West Country producers has hit Somerfield stores as part of a collaborative venture between the retailer, farmers and a food processor.
The eight farmers involved, supplying 50 head a week, will see an assured return of between £80 and £100 a head for their stock under the cost-plus contract.
The scheme has been arranged with producer Blade Farming South-West and Southern Counties’ Fresh Foods.
The “So Good” beef is fully traceable, labelled with the producer’s name and the English Beef and Lamb Executive’s Quality Standard Mark.
“Today is an important landmark, not only for our business, but for all beef producers in the West Country,” said Richard Phelps, managing director of Blade Farming South West.
“If this proves successful then we will be looking to recruit more farmers.
“Our beef comes from dairy-bred animals, mainly black-and-white bulls.
“Most are about 14 months old when slaughtered, which gives us a consistent ‘buttery’ quality when the beef is cut.
“Coupled with this, the So Good beef is matured for 21 days.”
Cattle were all grain fed on Blade Farming South West’s rearing and finishing units to a consistent ration, he added
Somerfield’s buying director Sue Cronin-Jones said she hoped the project would counter the threat to future supplies of English beef.
“We have a genuine commitment to south-west farmers.”