We have all sat down at any number of pubs, clubs or restaurants, looked at the menu and have been excited to see ‘Angus beef’ as an option. But have you ever wondered where that beef comes from and can the venue really prove to you that it is Angus?
The era of the sociably responsible consumer has meant consumers are becoming more and more aware of the products they are purchasing and are asking the questions, where does my beef come from?
Consumers want to know the story behind the beef they are eating, is it grassfed on the Gippsland or grain fed in the New England and you are telling me it is Angus beef, but can you prove it?
This is an issue facing not only Angus producers in Australia, but around the world. At the recent World Angus Forum in Edinburgh, Scotland, this issue was front of mind across the forum sessions, and the answer on how to combat it, came down to DNA, traceability and telling the story.
As Steve McLean, the head of Agriculture and Fisheries Sourcing for Marks and Spencer (M&S), one of the united Kingdoms leading retailers put it, ‘Quality requires integrity’.
‘Consumer trust is built on years of hard work and commitment and this integrity comes from sourcing standards, audits, food safety, provenance, traceability, sustainability and animal welfare,’ he said.
M&S are answering the questions on provenance and Angus brand protection by developing partnerships with the Aberdeen Angus Breed Society, Scotbeef, IdentiGEN and the M&S Select Farmers to exploit DNA profiling.
‘We are working together to develop a unique offer through the combination of customer insight, retail knowledge, breed knowledge, farmer skills and production approach, processing knowledge and DNA verifications technology,’ said Steve.
IdentiGEN has developed a series of DNA traceability and authenticity programs designed to underscore brand integrity and traceability back to the farm gate.
‘Given the growing popularity of Angus beef and the premium position it enjoys in many markets, protecting the integrity of the Angus brand is critical to ensuring its future growth and success,’ said Ronan Loftus, co founder and Director of IdentiGEN.
This message was also loud and clear during Allflex’s Veterinarian, Global Business Development, Dr Johan de Meulemeester’s, presentation.
‘Traceability for consumers is, the whole history of their beef; origin, type of farming, type of feeding, type of medicines etc, provenance plays a huge role, with consumers wanting to know what they are buying,’ he said.