Small-scale meat producers tackle lean margins

A BAND of small producers in East Suffolk have got together to create a meat producer co-operative.

Red Poll Meats hopes to take on the might of the supermarkets with its new service.

Co-op members’ meat will be cut, packed and dispatched from the cutting plant of the Wild Meat Company at Blaxhall, near Snape, and delivered overnight by courier in insulated boxes with ice packs. Customers will also be able to collect their orders direct.

Its launch has been timed to coincide with this weekend’s Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, at which some of the co-operative members are exhibiting.

Red Poll Meats will largely operate online through its website www.redpollmeats.co.uk, which will give consumers access to its Suffolk-reared free range meat, wherever they live in the country, direct from the producer.

“It goes without saying that all the meat is free range and all locally produced. We used to be all organic but organic sales have slumped with the recession and no longer cover the costs of organic inspection and certification,” explained founder member Robert Gooch.

“The website will provide consumers with complete traceability of their meat in that each page on the website is dedicated to a producer of a certain product – Red Poll beef, local breed lamb, pork, venison, chicken, turkey and geese – so that consumers can see the farmer, his farming system, the stock management etc online and get in contact with the producer directly if they so wish.”

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The farmer members of the Red Poll Meat Co-operative are: Edward Turner and Sally Grimwood – supplying Red Poll beef (Aldringham), Josh Coyne – supplying native breed lamb (Yoxford), Keith Southey supplying rare breed pork and free range chickens (Bramfield), Chris and Judith Mobbs, supplying turkeys and guinea fowl (Cratfield), Paul Denny – supplying wild venison (Blaxhall), and Robert Gooch – supplying free range geese (Sweffling)