UK consumers will continue to support British products despite the challenge from cheaper imports in new trade deals, according to ABP UK’s chief executive.
Speaking to journalists at ABP’s processing plant in Ellesmere, Shropshire, Tom Kirwan acknowledged there was a threat from the US, but said the firm was focused on being ’a better us’.
“The consumer allows retailers to pay the farmer one of the highest prices in the world,” he said.
“They will ask about animal welfare and hormone free. They are quite discerning and for beef and lamb they are very discerning.
“Part of our role is to point out the differences."
Mr Kirwan said he had great faith in the quality of the UK product and there was large demand from the British consumer for British products.
“Whatever is thrown our way, we will find our way through,” he said.
“Grass-fed beef is sought after, particularly in North America.
Mr Kirwan said he had stopped trying to ‘second guess’ what will happen after Brexit.
“As a company, there is very little we can do with regards to Westminster and Brussels," he said, adding tariff free quotas were ’critical’ for the industry.
He also highlighted labour as a key concern.
With many staff from the EU and, with low unemployment in Shropshire, there would not be sufficient domestic workers to replace them, Mr Kirwan said.
The company also confirmed it was committed to a £30 million investment in the processing plant in Shrewsbury, ‘despite Brexit’.