The last few years have been an extremely challenging time for the red meat industry. From Brexit and the war in Ukraine, to the global Covid pandemic, there has been a significant amount of uncertainty and change which businesses across the sector have had to learn to adapt to.

Recent food shortages in supermarkets, paired with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, have placed strain on consumers, and there is speculation that these shortages are set to continue.

As well as affecting consumers, it’s impacting our sector too and we are seeing this right across the Scottish red meat supply chain – the backbone to our food security as a nation. But what can we do to help strengthen the situation?

Farming activity plays an important role in sustaining rural livelihoods and managing the local environment, as well as supplying the nation’s food needs.

We often take our country’s extensive grassland and plentiful natural rainfall for granted, but it’s these elements which make our landscapes perfect for rearing high-welfare red meat in ways which are sustainable for the industry, rural communities and modern consumers focused on sustainability credentials. The food produced by Scotch-accredited farmers is all quality assured, locally sourced, farmed with care and fully traceable, giving Scots no doubts about the journey from farm to fork.

With this in mind, it’s important that we all continue to support farming families to make a living and contribute to the rural economy.

But concerns around food security are high for those living across the country, and that’s why it’s imperative that we act now to help provide a solution. QMS recently published the Red Meat Industry Profile – a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the industry in Scotland. The report highlights the livestock sector’s contribution to the national economy and its overall levels of self-sufficiency in red meat.

Having a long-term vision is paramount to achieving change and seeing results. That’s why at last year’s Royal Highland Show in June, we helped launch The Beef Sector Strategy Steering group’s strategy for 2030. As Chair of the group, I was keen to set objectives for the Scottish beef sector that are not only achievable in the next eight years, but also address key weaknesses, threats and opportunities. We have a responsibility to help the industry flourish economically, environmentally and socially.

Despite the obstacles facing our nation and its food security, Scotland’s red meat brands have a huge potential to be part of the solution. We’ve started this process by listening to key industry individuals and levy payers and reassuring the end customer. With the right level of support, Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork will continue to feature in shopping baskets, feeding the nation for years to come.

For more information on Quality Meat Scotland visit

Kate Rowell is Chair of Quality Meat Scotland