I am renowned for my ‘reasonableness’, a word used so effectively by NFU president and Ladies in Beef co-founder Minette Batters to Michael Gove Secretary of State, at the NFU conference, writes Charolais suckler beef producer Claire Morris.
But a comment from a mum sharing a football match touchline made me see ‘blood’ red.
A loyal shopper to a major supermarket, she thought the meat packaged under the own label brand was locally sourced.
The truth is far removed, in fairness, the label does not state it is local. The packaging is attractive, looks authentic, as if from a small, artisan producer.
But often it is imported product and sometimes British.
It may be packed in the UK but can originate from outside.
Every sourcing opportunity is covered. Cleverly using fake farm brands for subtle co-mingling, this shows how easy it is to manipulate consumer psychology around product assumptions.
Which is why Ladies in Beef proudly promotes Great British Beef Week (GBBW) to champion Red Tractor Assured British Beef, starting next Monday, April 1- 7.
We have taken the opportunity to bring GBBW forward to avoid conflicting with Easter lamb sales and believe the multiples, butchers, farm shops, direct sellers and food service sector can sell more British beef.
GBBW will celebrate the global influence of beef in so many best-loved international dishes – from the iconic British roast to a Madras curry, Italian lasagne, Hungarian goulash and classic US burgers.
The focus is on quick and easy thin cut steaks and miniroast recipes.
We also want to use GBBW to set the record straight on grass-based beef and many environmental and health benefits.
Almost half of the UK’s cattle breeds are managed on our mountains, moorlands, marshes and wetland – land which cannot be used for crop production.
Here, suckler beef herds are a vital part of the landscape management to maintain the critical carbon sink for greenhouse gases.
We also want to counter widespread misinformation on nutrition with science-based facts on why beef is so important in a balanced diet for brain, bone, muscle, blood and a strong immune system.
We all know beef is high in protein, iron, and zinc and of course Omega 3 and 6 in pasturebased systems.
But we do not make enough of beef being a very good source of vitamin B minerals for healthy blood and a functioning nervous system, in particular vitamin B12, not naturally found in plants or vegetables.
We cannot do much about the Brexit rollercoaster, so why not join in the GBBW.