Morrisons has launched the first ever supermarket Shorthorn Beef brand that includes a full range of steaks, salmon-cut and topside joints.
Now available in 100 of the Bradford-based supermarket’s stores across the country, the product line is the result of six years of work with the Beef Shorthorn Society.
The range includes ‘The Best British 21 Day Matured Dry Aged Shorthorn Sirloin Steak’ which has just won two gold medals in the World Steak Challenge staged in London.
Morrisons said it had developed the product range because of the excellent eating quality and full traceability offered by the Shorthorn breed.
For Shorthorn Beef producers, it is a major boost as the national herd continues to grow and has become Britain’s fastest growing native breed amid a resurgence in the popularity of native cattle.
The breed’s population has expanded by 1,400 per cent since 2002, and there is every indication that this trend will continue to gain momentum, according to the Beef Shorthorn Society.
Explaining the decision to launch a dedicated product line, Jodie Bolland, Morrisons’ livestock and farming development manager, said: “Beef Shorthorn is globally renowned for its eating quality, characterised by marbling which influences its consistent great taste – tenderness followed by flavour.
“We have carried out rigorous testing and both our tenderness testing and trained taste panels confirmed Beef Shorthorn to be of consistently high quality.”
The retailer currently works with around 200 producers across the country and is looking to grow its supply chain.
Ms Bolland added: “To achieve a consistent supply of great quality beef, Morrisons is sourcing Beef Shorthorn animals from farm assured holdings with excellent standards of animal welfare, traceability, and nutrition to produce beef of consistent eating quality.
“We pay a premium on all cattle sired by a registered Beef Shorthorn and supplied to the supermarket’s own meat processing company, Woodheads from its approved farm assured finishers.”
Milly Fyfe, chief executive of the Beef Shorthorn Society, hailed the breed’s remarkable rise.
She said: “Native breeds came under increasing pressure in Britain following the invasion of Continental breeds throughout the 1960s and 1970s, however after three decades, they found themselves back in vogue, and Beef Shorthorn has witnessed a major turn-around.
“Breeders have carefully selected for specific maternal performance traits and at the same time retained the Beef Shorthorn’s native characteristics; consequently Beef Shorthorn is enjoying resurgence and meeting market demand primarily as a functional suckler cow.
“It would be amazing to have the breed recognised throughout the supply chain but this is a first stepping stone, working with a retailer. Now the challenge is to make people aware of what the Beef Shorthorn animal is.”
NATIVE BREED’S RISE TO PROMINENCE
Cattle registrations with the Beef Shorthorn Society rose by more than 39 per cent between 2010 and 2015, making it Britain’s fastest growing native cattle breed.
The breed has evolved over the last 200 years from Teeswater and Durham cattle in the North East of England and its genetics have been used in the development of over 40 other breeds.
In Yorkshire, the Morrisons Beef Shorthorn range is now available from its stores in: Beverley, Boroughbridge, Guiseley, Heckmondwike, Malton, Rotherham, Starbeck, Wetherby and York.