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Greetings from the North Yorkshire countryside. It's been a hazy few weeks in the Dales, with the lime green grass shimmering in the warm evenings, and the sound of bleating lambs all around. We are fortunate to have such wonderful countryside around Ripon, though we're not far from nature at our office - a couple of days ago an otter was paddling up and down the River Skell just behind our office.
This month I have two topics to discuss: a recent debate by MPs, and our new eco packaging. To mark Great British Beef Week, Selaine Saxby MP this week raised a debate in Westminster Hall regarding red meat. This debate is of national importance, and I was dismayed to see the poor attendance of members. However, the speakers underlined exactly what we have always known at Farmison & Co: the British supply chain needs protecting. If we let it slip, we will be losing one of this country's greatest assets.
Our systems of raising livestock are some of the best in the world, and with the pastures we have, it is an efficient use of land. Some of the statistics discussed were astounding. There are 278 million dairy cows worldwide. If they were all managed as efficiently as UK dairy cows are, we could shrink that number to 76 million and still produce the same amount of milk.
Other, crucial points were discussed. The amount of antibiotics used on UK farms reduced by 53% between 2014 and 2018. British farms are a world leader in terms of welfare, and that's not to mention the ecological benefits to flora and fauna that grazing livestock bring.
If you haven't already, I urge you to watch 'The Holy Cow' film. It aims to shine a light into our world, and it encapsulates many of the points made by the MPs. I am pleased that the message is getting through: British meat is better.
I am also delighted to announce the launch of our new eco packaging. Many customers have written to me over the past year asking for an alternative to polystyrene, and I'd like to thank you for your patience as well as to give insights into how we chose the new eco packaging.
It was no easy task. Before we made any decision we wanted to be sure an alternative was actually more sustainable. It was no good using packaging that would compromise the quality, and possibly result in an extra trip. Polystyrene, for all its faults, is robust and can be recycled. I know that many of our customers do prefer this packaging - and we're not going to take this away. You still have the option to return polystyrene to us via courier and we will recycle it. We will also cover any returns with a voucher code to use on the website. You can read more about our scheme here. It's been a success so far and a true circular economy.
The new eco packaging is made of felted wool, which is an excellent insulator, and it will keep your meat order nice and cool. Wool is a by-product of the lamb industry and I am pleased that this commodity can find other uses - you might have seen news reports over the past year that the bottom had fallen out of the market as a result of the pandemic, with many farmers resorting to burying their wool.
Economies of scale will mean that sustainable packaging must become more affordable, and I see responsibility resting all along the supply chain. It's up to us to make it an option for customers, it's up to regulatory bodies to facilitate more sustainable packaging and penalise waste, and it's up to our customers to prove demand. All you need to do is choose the eco packaging option at the basket page.
With the ambitious targets being set by the government to reduce emissions, things must change. Eco packaging is the start of our efforts when it comes to packaging.
Next month I will have some very exciting news about how we as a business will guarantee the future of an ancient English cattle breed. In the meantime, please do let me know what you think of our eco packaging. You can reach me via [email protected].