“ABERDEEN-Angus Quality Beef Ltd (AAQB) currently needs more members as demand for Aberdeen-Angus sired cattle is strong with a 40p a kilo premium paid on ‘in spec’ cattle.”
The good news comes from Anne Morrison, secretary and non-executive director of this producer co-op founded in 1998 by Northern Ireland farmers to improve returns from beef with that unique Aberdeen-Angus taste and tenderness.
Recently awarded the Belfast Telegraph Cup for agricultural achievement by the Ulster Farmers’ Union, Anne has been a driving force behind the success of AAQB.
“Our aim 20 years ago was to co-ordinate a weekly supply of suitable stock to a NI processor so that the real retail worth of Aberdeen Angus bred cattle would be reflected in producer returns,” Anne recalled.
Foyle Meats, now known as the Foyle Food Group (FFG) was the processor keen to work with the then small group of Aberdeen-Angus beef producers.
A unique bonus scheme, at that time 32p per kg, was agreed and a weekly supply of stock started.
Anne noted that “the aim was, and still is, to maximise members’ returns through a food chain partnership delivering a premium product of consistently high quality to the discerning consumer. As the Aberdeen-Angus breed has unrivalled brand awareness with chefs and consumers alike, producer prices should reflect this extra value”.
In 2000 the Foyle Food Group successfully launched AA beef in Tesco stores across Northern Ireland and so started a remarkable journey by the AAQB/FFG/Tesco supply chain partnership.
A further major leap forward came in 2012 when Tesco UK introduced its Aberdeen-Angus Scheme. This presented a great opportunity for local Aberdeen-Angus beef producers to become involved.
Together with the Foyle Food Group, the leaders of AAQB met with Tesco UK and successfully negotiated a ground breaking deal for its members.
Not only would beef from AAQB members be sold UK wide by Tesco, but for the first time England and Wales prices became available in Northern Ireland along with a 40p per kg premium for ‘in spec’ cattle.
This was clearly a win win deal for producers, processor and retailer alike as this contract was renewed last August with England and Wales based prices still available and the farmer founded producer cooperative continues to expand.
Members have been paid a bonus on cattle for 19 unbroken years and demand for stock continues to grow, hence the opportunity for more farmers to benefit from membership.
For further information about joining Aberdeen-Angus Quality Beef Ltd contact Business Development Manager Eamon Kelly, tel; 07813 176939.
Image: Terry Acheson, Chief Executive, right, and Wayne Acheson, Procurement Director Foyle Food Group congratulate Anne Morrison on being awarded the Belfast Telegraph Cup for outstanding agricultural achievement. As secretary of Aberdeen-Angus Quality Beef Ltd Anne has played a pivotal part in developing a premium market through a food chain partnership between the producer co-operative, Foyle Food Group and Tesco UK.