British rose veal will struggle to find a place on pub and restaurant menus unless suppliers can address high prices and variable quality, believes buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.
The comments came after farmer and food campaigner Jimmy Doherty launched a campaign to convince UK consumers to eat rose veal, which is produced from male dairy calves in association with the UK RSPCA's Freedom Food programme. It is named after its pink colour, which is a result of the calves being slaughtered at around 35 weeks.
Lynx Purchasing managing director John Pinder said: "Availability of UK rose veal is currently very low, and the price being asked by producers is often not justified by the quality of the meat. When we've looked at rose veal on behalf of our customers in the past, we've found that eating quality is very inconsistent.
"Operators are currently having to deal with the very high cost of beef - up 12.4% year-on-year according to the latest inflation figures. With steak already in danger of being priced off the menu in many pubs and restaurants, the last thing our customers are looking for is another high-priced beef product."
The RSPCA estimates that around 100,000 male dairy calves were killed soon after birth last year. Jimmy Doherty's campaign, featured in Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket on Channel 4, aims to overcome consumer resistance to British veal produced from animals reared to RSPCA welfare standards.
Pinder added: "Clearly, everyone would like to see a domestic market for British veal, and that can only be driven by consumer demand. However, even if the publicity generated by the TV programme persuades consumers that the stigma attached to veal due to welfare concerns isn't an issue with British rose veal, the scarcity of supply would probably push prices up in the short term."
By Neil Gerrard
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