January 1st 2022 saw the introduction of a new round of post Brexit red tape from the British Government. These strict new Brexit transport rules will make many UK businesses ‘give up’ on EU imports as being ‘Simply not worth the hassle’
Many farmers regret Brexit but this time the advantage is with us.
Since Boris “Got Brexit Done” a year ago farmers and fishermen exporting their products to the EU have had to jump through a whole load of new hoops to get through the post Brexit inspection and customs regime, At the same time our EU friends and partners have continued to enjoy completely free access to the UK.
This has led to a 50% drop in exports for some farm products over the last 12 months.
As of January 1st 2022 all that has changed! On that date, the UK has had to agree to impose import controls on EU farmers and fishermen.
The new post Brexit rules are particularly complicated for animal products, in particular food products that contain bits of animals. Britain imports over 250,000 tons of Beef from the EU along with huge amounts of Pork and Lamb.
Of course, these new rules do nothing to help us with our export crisis but what it will do is to make food imports more expensive and this represents a fantastic opportunity for British Farmers.
Food Imports & exports
The quality, price, and availability of Britain’s food supply are heavily linked with the future of Britain’s meat industry.
One of the reasons we import so much meat is that British tastes are very conservative and British consumers tend to eat a limited range of meat cuts (for example, chops and steaks).
When butchers process a carcase, they end up with excess meat that can’t be sold in the UK and needs to be exported. Cuts of meat that are popular with British consumers then need to be imported to meet the UK’s needs. Meat processing companies rely on imports for 26% of their supply, with the rest coming from UK farms.
Beef makes up nearly half of all meat imports to the UK with pork accounting for just over a third and lamb around 20 percent. Our largest source of imported meat is the Republic of Ireland and the checks on these imports are still pending while the Northern Ireland protocol is renegotiated.
Exports account for about 17% of the UK meat processing industry’s revenue with most of it going to EU customers in France, the Republic of Ireland, and the Netherlands. Outside the EU, China is an important and growing export market, as is the US beef market since beef farmers regained access in 2014.
Beef accounts for the largest share of export revenue at 40%, followed closely by lamb and sheep at around 36%, with pork bringing in around 20%.
How to take advantage of the post Brexit sales opportunity
Once UK farmers realized it was going to be harder to sell their produce to the EU, they began a charm offensive to encourage UK customers to buy British. The British public responded brilliantly with UK produced food sales growing strongly through the year.
Now the latest Brexit related rises in imported food costs offer another opportunity for UK producers to grab more sales and profits.
As well as increasing your spending on sales and marketing. You could focus on the value message because many people perceive British farm food and farm shops in particular as very expensive.
This isn’t necessarily true and where it is the gap will narrow with the introduction of this latest round of red tape.
You could also try encouraging your customers to eat more of the animal. Many of us remember the steak and kidney pies or liver and bacon we ate when we were growing up but these dishes are out of fashion now.
The top chefs love to use offal and usually when people eat something we like in a restaurant they like to try it at home. With a little education, there should be a strong market for these items.
In Spain there’s a pork cut called “secreto” (Secret) that would sell well in the UK.
We would call it the skirt steak and probably throw it away. It’s a cut located in the back part of the loin next to the forequarters between the fat. It’s the pig’s armpit.
The secreto accumulates fat inside the muscular tissue, creating marble-like white streaks of fat that add texture and an exceptional taste. Think of Wagu or Kobe beef, only it’s pork
This is one of the most popular meat cuts for Barbequing because it’s so succulent and takes on marinades really well. I’ve never cooked this for a Brit without them being blown away by the taste and yet you rarely see it in the UK.
Eating more of the animal is the ethical choice
If an animal gives up its life for us to eat then its only right we use as much of it as we possibly can. It also makes sense from an environmental point of view.
Buying British plays an important part in the fight against climate change but equally important is to maximise the percentage of the animal we eat and minimize the amount of food we waste.