Beef

All the farms we work with in the Co-op Beef Group have to meet strict standards.

When it comes to beef, so much can affect the flavour and texture of the meat, which is why all the farms we work with in the Co-op Beef Group have to meet strict standards.

More than 60 members of our Group have been chosen as what we call ‘foundation’ farms. That means they produce our Irresistible range, which uses only the finest native British beef breeds – Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle. Both breeds are famous for producing meat that is naturally marbled, succulent, finely textured and full of flavour.

Meet the producer - Keith

Watch how beef farmer Keith from Dumfries as he tells us all about he works with Scottish Co-op stores to supply Aberdeen Angus beef.

Buying Co-op 100% fresh British meat doesn’t just help farmers but the communities that they are involved with as well. We met with a gold Aberdeen Angus beef producer for the Co-op, Keith to give you some information on how Co-op Aberdeen Angus is produced and how buying British meat supports not only farmers but their communities too.

Keith looks after the farm with his brother Scott. Now, their children are learning the ropes to continue the family’s proud history. They will eventually manage the 1,600-strong herd, from which fantastic Aberdeen Angus steaks, mince and burgers are made for Scottish Co-op stores.

"A happy cow is a productive one, so we make sure ours are as happy as possible, says Keith. "The secret is to leave them alone! Cattle have been perfectly happy left to their own devices for hundreds of years. As long as they’re fed and healthy, and producing and feeding healthy calves, I leave them to do their own thing."

‘Our cattle are outside feeding on grass most of the year, except when it’s very cold and wet. We can get up to 60 inches of rain a year here, so we have to bring them indoors. Thanks to the temperate climate and varied soil types in this beautiful area we produce very good grass — and good grass makes delicious beef."

'We’re gold-standard producers for Co-op, thanks to our high standards. We’ve been farming for 116 years and we’re very proud of what we do, so for us it’s a natural progression.’

Supporting farmers means supporting other parts of the economy too. "What you buy drives an industry that provides employment across the board," says Keith. ‘From the people who produce machinery and fertiliser, to our vets and workers, the farmer is the bedrock for a plethora of industries that help keep the economy going. It’s like a web that spreads out from the farm."

A chairman of his local agricultural show, Keith is keen to spread the message about his quality beef and happy cattle. "Some people have no idea where their food comes from, so we try to educate them,’ he says. ‘We want them to know what farming’s all about, and the agri shows help connect local people with farmers who can share what they do."

  • The farmers in the Co-op Beef Group are as passionate as we are about the quality of the beef they produce. For this reason we have technical and agricultural teams that regularly carry out audits in abattoirs and on processing sites.

  • 100% of our fresh beef and chilled prepared meals containing beef are 100% British, sourced from farms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  • All our beef farmers are accredited to a national farm assurance scheme, such as Red Tractor, which ensures high standards of animal welfare. These schemes cover aspects such as the housing of animals and stocking densities, feed and water, health and veterinary controls, breeding, traceability and transportation.

    Farms also work with an independent third party to measure their performance and drive long-term improvement. The Co-op’s dedicated agricultural team visits these farms when possible throughout the year, as well as undertaking welfare checks at all abattoirs.

    Find out more about animal welfare

  • Our farmers are passionate about the beef they produce and together we go to great lengths to ensure the highest quality. To tackle cross-contamination in our Irresistible range, we have a rigorous authenticity programme which includes carcass DNA swabbing.

    Our dedicated food technical and agricultural teams regularly carry out audits in abattoirs and processing sites. We keep detailed traceability records and have developed close relationships with our farmers and beef suppliers, so we know we are providing you with 100% British beef.