Farmer Focus: We must act on declining red meat sales

I’m glad we’ve had some much-needed rain. It was rather concerning seeing the pasture so dry, with no rain forecast.

We are slightly greener at the moment, but still lacking any significant growth. I can only imagine what a concern it must be for grass-based dairy farmers.

The summer holiday is always a testing time for food retailers. Families set off on holidays, have days out and look to entertain their children.

The quieter period allows us to look ahead and begin to prepare for the winter months. The cold weather and long nights see an increase in sales, which makes up for the shortfall of the summer months.

See also: Summer heatwave takes 10p/kg a head off prime cattle values

It has also allowed us to asses our business since the opening of our shop in December. I am happy with the progress to date, given the short timescale and limited budget, although there is room for improvement.

We need to improve on how we engage with the consumer. Through selling direct from our farm and from trusted sources, we are offering a premium product – but we are failing to market this.

We still have many customers finding our shop by chance, and telling us they didn’t know we were here. Although my plan was to let the business grow organically, I can’t help thinking we are missing out.

Apart from the occasional social media update, our marketing is non-existent. This must be seen as a priority. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, it would be great to hear from you.

Red meat sales are in decline. Meat-free days, vegetarianism and veganism are growing. But there is also data showing premium and niche meat sales have increased.

They key factor in our business is promoting our high animal welfare, extensive grazing, passion for the countryside, butchery skills and dedication to produce the finest locally sourced produce.

I don’t think the failure to promote successfully applies only to our business, but the industry as a whole. It is time for a new approach that engages the younger generation and ensures we do not lose more ground to fad diets and trends.

Shaun Hall Jones is a Farmer Focus writer from Carmarthenshire. Read his biography.