Head butchers from leading supermarkets across France came together at AHDB’s annual Top Pros Paris this week to explore new ways to promote British lamb.
Thirty guests gathered at the George V Hotel on Tuesday, to meet with fellow butchers and AHDB’s French export team, to discuss new and innovative ways of communicating the positive messages around British lamb to customers in the all-important French market.
As well as hearing about the UK’s high animal welfare standards and impressive environmental credentials, the butchers also had the chance to sample a variety of lamb dishes prepared by chef Anne Reverdy.
And they were celebrated for their valuable work in promoting British lamb under the St George brand – which was introduced in 2003 to make the product easily identifiable in all French supermarkets.
Over the last ten years, Top Pros Paris has grown in popularity to become one of the most respected events in the AHDB export calendar – bringing those who are at the forefront of promoting British lamb together under one roof.
AHDB’s International Market Development Manager in France Carole Rivière said: “It is imperative that we continue to build on the strong relationship AHDB has with its butchers in France and share new information and ideas to promote British lamb to French consumers.
“Butchers play a vital role in showcasing our lamb and they must have the confidence and trust in our product to communicate with customers and ensure that more people in France get to experience the fantastic taste and quality of British lamb.”
France remains a key target market for lamb exports, with shipments worth over £134 million in the first seven months of the year. From January to July, the UK exported more than 20,000 tonnes of lamb to France – up 11 per cent on the same period last year.
The UK is the largest exporter of sheep meat to France, commanding a 22 per cent share of consumption of lamb in the country. However, the strong export figures are only possible through building strong relationships with importers and retailers.
Top Pros Paris helps AHDB to maintain these closer working relationships with head butchers and ensure that British lamb continues to be sold in supermarkets across France.
Mathieu Noppe, head butcher at Leclerc Salouel supermarket chain, has been attending Top Pros Paris for the past seven years and values the work of AHDB’s French office in helping him communicate the benefits of buying British lamb.
He said: “This is a hugely important event for me and that’s why I come every year. It provides an opportunity to meet with AHDB’s French team and fellow butchers, and learn new recipes and ideas that I can pass on to my customers.
“I really enjoyed the cooking demonstration – the theme was reducing waste to maximise the carcass and how to use all the different lamb cuts in a variety of recipes. Being able to share this with customers is incredibly valuable.”