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Stackyard News Jan 08

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Pioneer Foodservice to DIstribute Mey Selections

Pioneer Foodservice, of Carlisle, is making inroads north of the Border marketing to its clients a prestigious Scottish meat brand – with a Royal seal of approval.

Having established its own Lakeland brand of beef, lamb and pork seven years ago in the north west of England, Pioneer, which serves customers in the North East from its Gateshead depot, was approached to distribute beef and lamb from Mey Selections, the highest quality farm and food products from the North Highlands of Scotland.

The brand takes its name from the Castle of Mey on the north coast of Caithness, home of the late Queen Mother, and Mey Selections is part of Prince Charles’s North Highland Initiative to develop closer connections between farmers, fine food products and consumers.

“There is an increasing demand from hotels wanting regional Scottish produce and we are pleased and proud to be associated with such a quality and prestigious range of products,” said Pioneer’s chairman Andrew Jenkins, who met Prince Charles at the annual meeting of North Highland Products, whose brand name is Mey Selections.

“We were approached as a company to market the brand because of our standing within the industry and our own brand development and the ongoing work we are doing with EBLEX this side of the Border.

“They wanted a partner who had the systems in place to give transparency and continuity of supply to the utmost standards.”

The brand was established in August 2005 and it is growing at a rate to meet the ability of the 250 producer-members of North Highland Products. All Mey Selections products originate within a 100 mile radius of the Castle of Mey which are all members of the industry’s quality assurance scheme, Quality Meat Scotland.

Mey Selections beef and lamb products are produced exclusively by Dunbia at a dedicated facility in Royal Dornoch, situated in the county of Sutherland in Northern Scotland.

The product range extends through a variety of prime cuts of beef and lamb and the range benefits from a number of skilful processing techniques. Now in its third year, trade in Mey Selections has surpassed all initial expectations and demand for the product has created a business now processing 150 cattle and 900 lambs per week.

Pioneer handles distribution in the Borders and South West Scotland area and it has approved a licence for John Mclay, of Glasgow to handle the rest of Scotland because of logistics.

As the brand further develops, Pioneer, as one of seven members of the business consortium, the National Catering Butchers, will be in a position to market the beef and lam b throughout England via a network of quality catering butchers.

“Mey Selections is a completely different brand meeting the requirements of different customers to our own Lakeland beef and lamb which continues to develop and is gaining recognition in the market. We are currently buying around 100 cattle a week for Lakeland beef,” said Andrew Jenkins.

Gavin Davidson, managing director of Dunbia in England and who has worked closely with Pioneer on its Lakeland brand, said: “Among the reasons Pioneer was chosen as our partner in marketing the Mey Selections beef and lamb is that it is a long-standing company which guarantees continuity and is of the highest integrity which is of paramount importance when you are trying to develop a brand and gain confidence in it.

“The Lakeland brand has been highly successful and through its development we have developed a strong mutual trust.”

Garry Cronie, Dunbia’s managing director for Scotland, said: “Dunbia is particularly pleased to have the support, the integrity and the clientele that comes as a package when trading with Pioneer Foodservice. The management team at Pioneer has played a crucial role in the early development of Mey Selections and the brand launch into the food service market.”

The Mey Selections logo features a watercolour of the Castle of Mey, the former home of the late Queen Mother, painted by Prince Charles.

Already Mey Selections has been compared to its royal patron’s highly successful Duchy Originals brand.

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