Barlochan Highland Beef Nigel and Angela Taylor first set up Barlochan Highland Beef in 2002 when an offer of two Highland steers marked the beginning of a successful food and farming business. Today the business operates with 150 head of cattle held spread over 580 acres.
The move to a commercial operation was also due in no small part to the Added Value Programme.
“Initially we never had plans to grow to the current size of operation; cow numbers slowly increased as demand outstripped supply, says Nigel. “However, the Programme made us realise the full potential and get serious about the business.”
In the late 90’s, Nigel spent several years in marketing, so he went into the Programme open to the possibilities of a planned approach to adding value.
“Before the programme marketing maybe took up 5% of our time; now it’s more like 45%! It’s a dramatic difference and has helped the business grow significantly,” adds Nigel.
The programme covers everything in terms of marketing and adding value, from planning your marketing campaign to the vital importance of professional, high quality packaging.
“A key aspect of the programme was identifying the product versus customer equation, and the importance of marrying the two together,” explains Nigel.
“While our product hasn’t changed dramatically, the way we have added value in terms of consumer choice, packaging and presentation certainly has.”
Networking through the course also brought an innovative solution for Nigel and Angela when they hit upon a solution for the cheaper cuts of the carcass.
A chance conversation with a course delegate who ran a bakery business, led Nigel to ask if they would make some steak pies with his Highland Beef, thinking mainly of personal consumption. However, that led to quite a significant change in the business, including a range of cooked products. The turnover increased eight-fold as a result of this collaboration and was a direct result of the Programme.
Angela explains: “The importance of selling the whole beef carass evenly is paramount. The quality cuts are easy to sell, but no producer wants to be left with a deep freeze full of mince and stewing steak!”
“This was a major breakthrough for us,” says Nigel. “Now we can’t get enough of the cheaper cuts to meet the demand, and the added profitability on the low end of the carcass means that it is a key part of the whole business model.”
It’s exciting times for Nigel and Angela as they look to grow the business and the Added Value Programme helped set them on that road.
“The Programme helped me realise the potential of our product by identifying the customer and targetting the demand with a product that met their requirements,” says Nigel.
“We’ve also had great encouragement throughout as well as unbelievable opportunities. The 2008 showcase at the Royal Highland Show was a example of this with unprecendented access to the press and industry buyers.”
- Realising business potential
- Focus on marketing benefits
- Improved product packaging and presentation
- Opportunities to showcase product to a wider audience
- New added value products through networking and collaboration