More than half English consumers are willing to pay more for Quality Standard Mark beef and should be allowed to do so says English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) chairman John Cross.
John said the industry was suffering from desperately low cattle prices that do not reflect the high level of support from shoppers. "English beef farmers are not afraid of competition, but the low prices are a reflection of short-termism in the market.
"Our English levy payers have invested heavily in the Quality Standard campaign, both in terms of the advertising commitment, and voluntary participation in supply chain assurance, all of which cost to deliver.
"Independent research has shown significantly more than half of England's shoppers are willing to pay a premium for Quality Standard beef and the majority of those would pay up to 10 per cent more.
"It is worrying that, at a time when UK beef consumption is at its highest ever, cattle prices are falling.
"The next few weeks are a watershed for English cattle producers deciding about their future plans in the post CAP reform era - free of production subsidies.
"The market is clearly failing to deliver the prices that will help keep our farmers producing beef cattle which in turn maintains our green and pleasant land.
"I therefore call on retailers to actively promote Quality Standard beef by developing separate space on shelves. Help shoppers make positive, informed choices - something they want to be able to do!"