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Stackyard News Mar 07

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    Offal Market Opportunities

NEWLY published reports highlight opportunities for beef and lamb supply chains to make better returns on offals.

An analysis of offal market opportunities and advice on reducing handling costs have been published by the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) Offals Working Group.

Traditionally, offal (or fifth quarter) sales not only covered the costs of slaughter, but also provided a modest profit centre for the industry. This is still the case in other parts of the world, but no longer the case in the UK, where most offal is either sold cheaply for use in pet food production or treated as waste.

Last year edible offal (such as liver and kidney) accounted for only 3.6% of all fresh and frozen red meat sales in England – with 80% of those sales to consumers aged over 45. Butcher’s shops accounted for almost a third of all offal sales in 2006.

The Offals Working Group, which included representatives from the abattoir and processing sectors, was set up in June last year to explore ways of increasing industry returns from offal. It looked in particular at new export markets which came on-stream after the lifting of the beef export ban.

EBLEX Chief Executive Richard Ali who chaired the EBLEX Offals Working Group, said: “This work is the first major analysis of market opportunities in over a decade, and clearly shows there is an attractive market both at home and abroad for fifth quarter products.

“During the year EBLEX will be working with independent butchers on imaginative ways of encouraging more consumers to prepare dishes based round these valuable products.

“On the industry side, the Group has highlighted issues that need to be addressed on the packing and presentation of offal for various markets, and the logistics around cost reduction.

“It’s clearly not headline-grabbing stuff, but the Group’s work is absolutely vital to the sustainability of the sector”.

Today the EBLEX Offals Working Group published three documents: a report on The English Offal Market, An Assessment of the EU Offal Market and the Central European Tripe Market. The Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF), which is a member of the Working Group, has published separately an industry fact sheet on the gut room and associated activities that highlights how abattoirs can reduce costs through adopting best practice.

The reports will be made available to invited attendees at two EBLEX Offal Export Seminars being held in York and Bristol this week.

On the farming side, diseases such as liver fluke can have a serious impact on the ability to increase returns from the fifth quarter, and EBLEX is now including this message as part of its ongoing work under its Better Returns Programmes.

An Action for Profit Sheet on liver fluke for producers will be published in early April to accompany two fifth quarter Action For Profit Sheets published this week. Better Returns from Wool and Better Returns from Salting Skins are available to download from the Action for Profit pages of the EBLEX website at

The Working Group’s reports are also available online to EBLEX levy payers at

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