Mey Selections Adds £140k In Premium Prices For Local Farmers
24th May 2006
North Highland Products - the operating company for the Mey Selections brand - has reported turnover of over £1.2m in its first five months of operation, with over £140,000 gained in premium payments to farmers by the end of March this year for branded beef and lamb.
Mey Selections was launched by The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay in August 2005 as part of his North Highland Initiative, which aims to boost the North Highlands economy by promoting its produce, tourism and the built environment.
"This is far beyond what many thought was possible at the outset of the project," Danny Miller, chairman, told the company's annual general meeting at the Park Hotel, Thurso.
Also at the meeting, Garry Cronie, interim business manager of Dungannon Meats, the Mey Selections processor, said that the company had invested over £100,000 in its plant in Dornoch, expanding its refrigeration facilities and creating a new dedicated boning facility for Mey Selections meat. In addition, cattle slaughter options would become available in both Inverurie and Kirkwall.
"Together, these investments are likely to create 30 new jobs in the North Highlands," he said.
Danny Miller commented that the success of the project was directly linked to the volume of livestock that the 150 trading members of the company had provided.
In the short four month period between August 2005 and the end of the year, local farmers had earned premium payments of over £60,000 - revenue that would not have been possible without the Mey Selections brand. A further £80,000 in premium rates had been earned so far in 2006, bringing an additional £140,000 to the North Highland farming industry since the launch of the brand in August last year.
The Chairman of North Highlands Products continued, "We have consistently traded over 100 cattle a week and, at peak, over 375 lambs weekly. In real terms, during the period in question, 2,700 cattle made a premium over the Scottish average of £102,000 - typically, £37 per head - and 12,000 lambs made a premium over the Scottish average of £38,000 - typically £3 per head."
"Sainsbury's has indicated that it will increase the number of stores that will stock our beef and lamb to 98 stores. We have also secured an order for a new cheese, Highland Blue, produced at the Highland Fine Cheeses Creamery in Tain using Caithness milk."
He said that the demand was likely to grow significantly in 2006, with an extended range of products. "These additions will further enhance our brand image and bring more money and jobs into the region. We hope that as many farmers as possible in the Mey Selections region, will commit their livestock to us."
"Only by doing so will they be able to gain a premium for their stock in the region, "he added.
As a result of Sainsbury's increased demand and new sales into the food service and catering industry, the anticipated demand in the next five months was 2,000 cattle and 8,000 lambs - numbers which would grow next winter.
Danny Miller's message to farmers was clear, 'Book your livestock in now!"
Mr Cronie of Dungannon Meats emphasised the need for premium quality production, "Premium sales prices must be matched with premium quality production. To realise the potential of Mey Selections products, there is an absolute interdependency between farmers, North Highland Products and Dungannon Meats."
North Highland Products Ltd was formed to enable farmers, tourism and local businesses to promote their products to a wider audience. The Mey Selections brand is named after the Castle of Mey in Caithness, the late Queen Mother's Highland residence, which HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay visits every summer. The company is part of the North Highlands Initiative, launched by the Prince in August 2005 in order to boost the economy of the region. He has donated one of his water colour paintings of the Castle as the Mey Selections logo. Future plans aim to extend the range of Mey Selections to other products.
Danny Miller (34), chairman of North Highland Products Ltd, farms 210 ha at Netherton Farm, Wick, Caithness (arable and small number of suckler cows) and also manages the cattle enterprise on his father's farm (300+ suckler cows with all progeny finished.
A brand new children's food festival will take place in the North Highlands in the summer of 2015 it has been announced. Created and organised by the North Highland Initiative (NHI) in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink, the festival will take place from 5 and 6 June 2015 and aims to highlight the importance of local food production, how to make great cuisine and good food choices and the variety of career opportunities in food production and service.
Croft-reared Highland beef and lamb served at the royal wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton is now available nationwide and even across Europe, thanks to a brand new partnership between Mey Selections and Campbells Prime Meat Ltd. Eight Mey Selections cuts of beef are now available for sale direct to the public on Campbells Website and can be delivered fresh across the UK and Europe.
After all the months of planning, wondering if the idea would work, and waiting for stallholders to come forward, it was a great boost yesterday to see so many locals and visitors coming in to see us. We already have a waiting list of potential stallholders but we are fully booked for the whole season at the present time.
David Whiteford has been appointed as the new Chairman of The Prince's North Highland Initiative. Mr Whiteford will take up the position on 1st June 2009.
Organised and hosted by Mey Selections, and with the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a group of ten top London chefs have, over the past few days, experienced for themselves just what it is about the North Highlands that produces award winning food and drink. Philip Corrick, Head Chef of the Royal Automobile Club, commented, "I am certain I speak for the rest of the group when I say that the North Highlands is unique in the UK in being able to deliver time after time, such a variety of quality produce - be it beef, lamb, mutton, seafood, cheese or bakery products, and much more." "The winning combination of the unspoilt environment together with the care and traditional skills employed by the region's fine food producers creates wonderful ingredients and products which consistently deliver on taste and performance.
Mey Selections becomes first Scottish consumer goods company to put carbon labels on products Mey Selections, the Caithness based food brand, is the first consumer goods company in Scotland to be certified with the Carbon Trust's Carbon Reduction Label. Mey Selections Luxury Shortbread and two Honey products will carry the Carbon Reduction Label in stores from 1 May, demonstrating the company's work to measure and, crucially, its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint over the next two years.
The Kandahar Club races each year in Switzerland at the world famous Murren Inferno downhill ski race - the longest downhill race in the world. This year the North Highland's Mey Selections Barrogill has sponsored the Hulse-Palmer Cup which is awarded to the three Kandahar teams with the best improved times in the Inferno race, and to the member of the Club with the best individual performance.
Mey Selections won the Best Retail Initiative award last week at the NEC in Birmingham. The award, given by Radio 4's food and farming programme is seen as the Oscar of the food and farming world and it acknowledges Mey Selections outstanding achievement with customers on a national scale.
The Mey Selections brand has now been enhanced by a special range of tweeds designed and manufactured by world leading textiles and cashmere producers, Johnstons of Elgin, and developed in conjunction with HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay. Mey Selections Castle of Mey Estate Tweed was launched at the new Johnstons £1.5million Heritage Centre yesterday where it was received by TRH The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay during their visit where they viewed the weaving of the tweed in one of the only traditional mills left in the country.
A range of Mey Selections fine food products is now available in Aviemore Highland Shopping, Scotland's latest luxury shopping complex, to be found at the Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort. Tracy Waters, Business Development Manager for Mey Selections commented: "It is really exciting to be involved with such a visionary retail experience, which has succeeded in gathering together the top quality Scottish brands.
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