M&S raises the stakes with unrivalled new British beef traceability campaign
From corned beef to fillet steak, every single piece of beef that M&S sells has two things in common – it can be traced back to the farm and animal it came from AND it is British
Marks & Spencer has launched a new, summer-long food marketing campaign that shines a spotlight on M&S’ unrivalled beef traceability standards.
As highlighted in the campaign, M&S is the only national retailer in the UK that can trace every piece of beef it sells – whether it’s in a prepared meal, a sandwich or a prime cut – all the way back to every farm and animal from which it is sourced.
The “We trace it, so you can trust it” campaign is backed by DNA sampling provided by Dublin-based tech company Identigen. Thousands of tests are carried out every year to check that M&S’ unique standards are being followed.
And in support of British farming, the ads also carry a Union Jack flag highlighting to customers that every piece of M&S beef is British.
Sharry Cramond, Food Marketing Director at M&S, said: “Since joining M&S I’ve been amazed at the stories behind our products. Our people go to extraordinary lengths to source the very best ingredients and products and we are not shy of using cutting-edge technology to guarantee our provenance. Our beef campaign is an important first step in shining a spotlight on our unrivalled food standards – because trusting the food we eat matters to our customers.”
Press and radio ads break today and kick off an extensive media campaign that will run throughout the summer. An interactive supply chain map showing every single farm that supplies M&S with beef launches next month.
Luke Williamson, Executive Creative Director at M&S ad agency Grey London, said: “Provenance is such a powerful story for M&S. We’re excited to be launching this fresh campaign, it’s a bold message delivered in an integrated way that will leave customers in no doubt over where M&S beef comes from.”
M&S uses DNA sampling to trace its beef back to every farm and animal. A sample is taken from every animal from every farm that supplies M&S and its suppliers. Thousands of tests are carried out every year on products taken at random from M&S stores and
warehouses. The tests check that beef is moving through the supply chain – from farm, to abattoir to processor and to store – correctly and that M&S standards are being followed.
Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re passionate about supporting British farming and working with our suppliers to invest in new technology and the best systems available. That gives us better traceability than anyone else in the market and, when it comes to beef, it means we know where every single animal was reared, how it was reared and how the beef moved through our supply chain.”
Customers can find out more at www.marksandspencer.com.
The meat industry intends to introduce a national and independent DNA traceability system for the detection of Swiss meat in the spring of 2018. At its meeting on 7 April, the Governing Body of Proviande, the branch organization, adopted the relevant principles. The final implementation decision is expected at the end of June 2017.
Swiss meat is popular and enjoys great trust among consumers. Maintaining and deepening this trust is one of the central tasks of the entire meat value chain.
A working group headed by Proviande, with representatives from the whole meat sector, has developed the basis for the national introduction of a system for the traceability of Swiss meat by means of DNA in recent months. The new system is intended to provide proof that meat and meat products with a Swiss origin certificate are actually derived from animals that have been kept and slaughtered in Switzerland. At its meeting on 7 April, the Proviande Governing Board approved the relevant principles.
The first step is to introduce the system for beef and veal. A reference sample is to be taken from each animal in the slaughterhouse for the purpose of proof of origin using DNA and then analyzed in a Swiss laboratory. The technology partner in this project is IdentiGEN Ltd. The new control system will, in the future, increase the transparency and security of the declaration of Swiss meat thanks to the clear proof of provenance, thereby further strengthening the confidence of consumers.
UK importer Seafresh is set to supply retailer Marks and Spencer with farmed shrimp which, for the first time, claims to offer DNA-based assurance as to origin and quality.
Through enhanced transparency the TraceBack program will also help promote ethical labor practices, which have been highlighted in the global shrimp industry, the project said.
The technology offering – already available in animal meat – has been developed by DNA tracing company IdentiGEN, in partnership with Seafresh.
Seafresh’s Central American shrimp will be sold at M&S outlets in the UK, the first time such an offering has been brought to the consumer, said IdentiGEN in a press release.
IdentiGEN co-founder and director Ronan Loftus said the application of DNA TraceBack to the industry brings a further degree of accountability to production and labor practices, which are increasingly being demanded by both retailers and the consumer.
“With its complex and global supply chain, the shrimp industry has been subject to high profile controversy in recent years for poor quality, excessive use of antibiotics and reports of human trafficking, slave and child labor,” he said.
“This program will give guaranteed transparency to both retailer and consumer that what they are buying is sourced from approved sources and meets highest standards in terms of production practices.”
Recent scientific advances in DNA technology has made traceability deliverable at a large scale, enabling its expansion into the seafood sector.
A sample taken from a female shrimp can apparently be used to trace all of its progeny (hundreds of thousands of shrimp) back to its farm of origin with unprecedented accuracy.
“This makes DNA sampling and TraceBack of large numbers of shrimp from the fork back to their exact farm of production possible and cost efficient. The system can also be used to trace shrimp post-cooking, or further processing, where considerable co-mingling of production from different sources can occur.”
Leading food-animal DNA identification company, Dublin based IdentiGEN, today announced the successful award of a major contract.
IdentiGEN will serve the multi-annual breeding objectives of Marine Harvest and SalmoBreed (a Benchmark Holdings plc. company), two of the world’s leading salmon breeding companies together with Nofima (the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research).
Enabled by advances in high-throughput genotyping technology, IdentiGEN will support the ambitions of its aquaculture clients to develop and deliver productive, safe and sustainable seafood through improved genetics.
The initial contract, which involves DNA analysis of hundreds of thousands of fish, provides a foundation for the future DNA analysis of millions of salmon farmed throughout the world.
Through the power of genomic selection, traits of significant economic value including growth rate, disease resistance and product quality, can be advanced by naturally harnessing the genetic variation that exists within the breeding population.
IdentiGEN’s Managing Director and Founder Ciaran Meghen said: “We are particularly excited to work with the Consortium, as the Norwegian industry sets the pace for global innovation.
“As aquaculture production recently surpassed wild caught fisheries, the importance of genetic improvement across diverse farmed fish and shellfish species cannot be underestimated.”
Marine Harvest Genomics Specialist Dr. Matthew Baranski commented: “As the cost of genomic testing has fallen the opportunity for its uptake has accelerated and we are pushing the boundaries of its application in aquaculture, as the potential to improve productivity using these techniques is compelling”.
SalmoBreed’s Dr. Borghild Hillestad confirmed that IdentiGEN had been selected based on a combination of its technical capabilities, quality of service and competitiveness in responding to the Consortium’s requirements.
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications, Dublin, Ireland.
[email protected] / 00353 (0) 86 317 9731.
Information for Editors
IdentiGEN is a leading provider of DNA identification solutions to the international agri-food industry, with laboratory operations in Ireland, UK, USA and Canada. The company is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. www.identigen.com
About Marine Harvest
Marine Harvest Group is the world’s leading seafood company and largest producer of farmed salmon, with presence in 24 countries and a total of 12,400 employees worldwide. The company is headquartered in Bergen, Norway, and is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
SalmoBreed is a world leading company within breeding and genetics of Atlantic salmon. The head office is in Bergen, Norway and the company is owned by the UK listed company Benchmark Holdings plc.
Nofima was established in 2008, and is Europe’s largest institute for applied research within the fields of fisheries, aquaculture and food. The institute delivers internationally recognised research and develops solutions that provide a competitive edge throughout the value chain.
DNA is the only way to keep track of meat as an animal is disassembled during processing. It keeps the supply chain honest and ensures that our brand value is protected. Through DNA TraceBack®, we are able to continuously improve the quality of our products by identifying which suppliers have the best meat and focus our purchasing.
IdentiGEN and Alberta Agriculture recently extended the successful pilot project that commenced in 2010 with a 3 year contract renewal.
Alberta, Canada has a reputation for high quality beef and a thriving cattle industry prevails. Successful ranchers are always keen to optimize their herd and make efficient use of their best performing animals.
IdentiGEN works with Alberta Agriculture in this extended pilot project using DNA testing to enable ranchers to more effectively utilize their best animals. Select ranchers use a DNA verification system to improve breeding in the short term and improve product quality overall.