Protein profit earners?

20 July 2001

Protein profit earners?

CONSUMER preference for UK meat fed on home grown GM-free feed could soon make UK grown protein crops key profit earners in their own right.

But cross-industry co-operation from grower to retailer will be needed to make it work, delegates at last weeks British Edible Pulse Association PGRO open day heard.

"Peas and beans have a good potential because there is a gap to be filled," says Marks and Spencer adviser Bill Marlow of Marlow Wade.

The stores customers not only want UK produced meat fed on GM-free feed, they would rather that feed was home-grown. Such quality commands a premium and growers can expect to see at least a part of that, he says.

"If we do not see to it that the right price goes all the way down the chain then we wont get the product we are looking for," he stresses.

Grower and NFU oilseeds, proteins, fibres and alternative crops committee chairman, Rad Thomas, warns that if that does not happen soon wheat and set-aside rotations could become commonplace.

"We have to turn the ship around; it needs a big effort and a joint approach."

Mr Marlow acknowledges not all consumers are prepared to pay a premium for home-grown non-GM fed meat. But where M&S leads today, other stores and some of their customers will follow tomorrow, he says.

Concerns about the long-term availability of non-GM protein imports and levels of contamination also favour home-grown feed alternatives, he adds. Brazils GM-free policy is under pressure and the GM-free status of its crop is questionable. &#42


&#8226 GM-free import concerns.

&#8226 UK protein feed preferred.

&#8226 Meat worth premium.

&#8226 Premium must reach grower.

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