Galloway Beef will be the centrepiece of festive dinners across Scotland this year as Aldi champions Dumfries & Galloway’s iconic native cattle breed with the launch of a trio of Scotch Galloway Beef joints in all 96 of its Scottish stores.
The backing for Galloways by Aldi has been described as ‘transformative’ by the Galloway Cattle Society, and the start of a process the Society hopes will ultimately lead to Galloway Beef becoming widely recognised as a premium brand.
The Galloway is one of the oldest native cattle breeds in the world, but Galloway Beef is rarely available in supermarkets, which makes Aldi’s strong offering this Christmas incredibly exciting and unique. In 2017 the Galloway was officially categorised as one of the UK cattle breeds ‘at risk’ by DEFRA, which meant the number of registered breeding females across the UK had dropped below 3,000.
Scott McKinnon, Farm Manager of Klondyke Farms and Chairman of the Development Committee at the Galloway Cattle Society, said:
“The Galloway Cattle Society recognised a few years ago that we needed to take action to increase stocking of what is an extremely important native cattle breed, so we looked at ways to create new premium markets to encourage more farmers to stock Galloways. We worked with consultants and managed to secure some funding, firstly to carry out some research with our members, and then to run a two year market development project, which was part funded by LEADER.
“When cattle numbers are low it’s difficult to balance the potential you know is in a breed with supply realities. Particularly when for too long the Galloway hadn’t really been considered as a commercial prospect in the UK. We knew Galloway Beef was outstanding, and we knew people were starting to value the Galloway’s natural attributes, like conservation grazing, but opening up opportunities with a retailer was always going to be a challenge.
“Aldi was top of the list of retailers we wanted to work with, mainly because of their track record in championing some of the very best produce in Scotland. So we were delighted when they agreed to trial a Galloway Burger last year, and the response to that product was just incredible.
“There simply aren’t enough Galloways in Scotland – yet – to supply year round beef to a national retailer. So the opportunity to showcase Galloway Beef during the festive season is a huge vote of confidence by Aldi, both in our members, and in the quality of Galloway Beef as a premium choice.” Aldi is working with the Galloway Cattle Society and Scotbeef to source the beef, with 80% coming from farmers in Dumfries & Galloway. A premium of 30p per kg above the beef base price was paid to farmers for Galloways going to Aldi this Christmas, directly benefitting local farmers.
Dorothy Goldie, Breed Secretary of Galloway Cattle Society, said:
“Aldi’s support is transformative in raising awareness of Galloway Beef and supporting traditional farming. Independent butchers and farm shops across Dumfries & Galloway have already proven that there’s strong demand for Galloway Beef, and they have done a tremendous job in supporting the breed locally, but to get stocking numbers up across Scotland we need to open up new routes to market for farmers.
“By championing the Galloway breed over Christmas Aldi is providing people with an opportunity to experience the rich flavour of one of Scotland’s oldest and most environmentally sustainable native breeds. We are absolutely delighted to be working with Aldi and Scotbeef, and we’re looking forward to knowing that Galloway Beef will be the centrepiece of festive dinners across Scotland.” Graham Nicolson, Group Buying Director, Aldi Scotland said:
“Galloway Beef is some of the best in the world and we’re pleased to be working with Scotbeef and the Galloway Cattle Society this Christmas to bring our customers three fantastic Scotch Galloway Beef joints. We have long championed the breed and in May, we were pleased to bring back our popular Gourmet Galloway Beef Burgers, which proved to be another huge hit with our customers.
“It is clear the demand is there, which is why we wanted to strengthen our Scotch Galloway Beef product range and further support Scottish farmers this Christmas. These joints have been expertly selected for their superior taste and texture and provide a great opportunity for even more of our customers to try this famous breed.” Aldi is working with long-term supplier, Scotbeef, to source the certified Scotch Beef PGI joints from select assured Scottish farmers.
Robbie Galloway, CEO at Scotbeef, said: “Historically the Galloway has been overlooked by supermarkets, so it is hugely positive for Scottish farmers and the wider red meat industry that Aldi is such a strong supporter and champion of the breed. We’re proud of the partnership we have built with Aldi over the years and to be working with them on delivering these unique, locally sourced Galloway joints for their customers.” Tender and full of flavour, Aldi’s trio of joints; Scotch Galloway Beef Sirloin Joint, Scotch Galloway Beef Rump Joint, and Scotch Galloway Beef Joint wrapped in Ayrshire bacon give Aldi customers the opportunity to try a range of the breed’s best cuts. They will be available from Aldi stores in Scotland from 19th December.
Local food consultant, Liz Ramsay, who has worked with the Galloway Cattle Society on supply chain development, said:
“It’s critically important for all sorts of reasons that Scotland meaningfully invests in our own native breeds. These are animals that are perfectly suited to our landscape and our climate, and the quality of the meat they produce is outstanding.
“There is absolutely no reason why Galloway Beef shouldn’t become a premium global brand. It absolutely deserves to be recognised and valued in the same way that Aberdeen Angus, Scotch Whisky and Scottish Salmon is. On flavour, sustainability and provenance it’s right up there as a world class quality product. There’s a bit of work to do to get there obviously, but it’s time for the reputation of Galloway Beef to boom.” Scott McKinnon added:
“We are very ambitious for the future of Galloways, and we want to see more cattle on the hills, and not just across Scotland. We are now starting to see a growing interest from farmers across the UK and Ireland in stocking the breed, and the Society is exploring how we can drive demand for Galloway Beef across the UK. It’s taken us a few years to get to this point, but hopefully this is just the start of a very exciting future for the Galloway breed.”