Everyone understands the importance of a healthy diet and January is synonymous with renewed efforts to change our lives and ourselves for the better – New Year, New You. While a small number believe that means cutting out meat altogether, the majority understand and appreciate the important role red meat plays in a healthy balanced diet. It contains vitamins and essential nutrients that cannot be found anywhere else. Therefore, when the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently recognised the role of lean beef in a healthy diet as part of its 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the feelings of positivity extended across the pond to the UK’s red meat industry.
The US represents a hugely important potential market for UK beef exports. After gaining market access just three months ago, we have already received positive feedback from those in the US who sampled our beef for the first time in more than 20 years. But what is it that consumers like? British beef is famous for its quality, which is the result of centuries of breeding, experience and care during farming and processing. Added to this is extensive science and research. Our beef is lean – meeting the recommendations of the dietary guidelines produced in the US – and has a taste and texture which is appealing and favoured by Michelin starred chefs. Most cows are reared in the lush countryside and the typical British beef cattle herd’s diet is made up largely of grass. Over the years, grass-fed beef has grown in popularity, not least because of its low overall fat levels. Research from Ernst & Young shows that 50 per cent of consumers around the world now express a preference for grass-fed beef and 64 per cent said they would pay more for it. We know that consumers have become more discerning about where their food comes from and how it is produced – both in the UK and the US. And we can say with confidence that beef produced in the UK is among the most sustainable in the world, operating to some of the highest welfare and food safety standards.
All of this makes beef from the UK an appealing choice. We know that, as the world’s biggest producer and consumer, Americans love the taste of beef. Therefore, it is our ambition to see our product on the shelves of supermarkets and on menus of restaurants in the US – complementing the US offering American consumers choice for the months and years to come.
Susana Morris, AHDB Senior Export Manager