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Farming: Native Angus beef sold to Hong Kong store in export first

The first ever export consignment of some of Scotland’s most prized beef, that from the extremely rare grass-fed Native Angus breed will be winging its way to one of Hong Kong’s top outlets next week.

By Brian Henderson

The Scotsman

30th Apr 2022, 7:00am

Reversing the flow of the extremely expensive Wagyu beef which has reached these shores from Asia in recent years, the beef comes from the line of cattle which can trace its roots back to pedigree bloodstock from Scotland’s original black Angus cattle – and which is free from the introduction of North American, Australian and other large-framed lines now prevalent in the mainstream Aberdeen Angus breed.

Native Angus beef.jpg

Photo: MacDuff 1890

The consignment is being exported by Wishaw-based MacDuff 1890 which specialises in supplying meat to high-end butchers and chefs in Scotland and around the globe – and comes from the Dunlouise herd of the Soutar family in Forfar who have played the leading role in keeping the traditional Native Angus breed alive.

“While breeding animals of this exceptional breed of cattle have regularly been sold to the continent – and semen and embryos around the world – this is the first time that beef itself has been exported,” said MacDuff’s Andrew Duff who also sells lamb from North Ronaldsay seaweed sheep and heather-fed Blackface flocks to Asian outlets.

The meat wholesaler said that the beef would be marketed through City Super in Hong Kong, an establishment which he likened to the UK’s Fortnum and Mason: “While the current consignment is only one carcase and the scarcity of the pedigree breed is such that the trade will never be of huge proportions, the consignment marks a recognition of the high quality and eating experience of beef from the Native Angus breed,” said Duff.

He added that as well as being deeply marbled with just the right amount of fat, grass fed Native Angus cattle also had higher levels of healthy omega three oils and beta-carotene levels.

Breeder Geordie Soutar, who made the protection, recognition and establishment of the Native Angus as a recognised breed in its own right his life’s work – with his Forfar-based Dunlouise herd being the only one in the world to contain cattle from all nine of the remaining pure cow bloodlines – said the breed’s ability to finish off grass with no additional feeding was a key factor in both the eating quality of the beef and also in gaining recognition of the sustainability credentials of the breed.

Soutar received an OBE for his efforts in conserving the Native Angus including his work gaining an official certification mark for the breed which ensures that all cattle in the breed are direct descendants of original Angus cattle and have no ancestors in their pedigree that are not also descendants of those original Angus cattle.

He said that the breed was in demand around the world, especially in areas where there is a move away from concentrate-fed feedlot production and where there was greater use of extensive grasslands.

“And given the recent jumps in the price of grain interest is only likely to grow in the ability to finish on grass,” said Soutar.

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