NOBODY can deny that the general public are caring more and more about where their food comes from.

The idea of provenance and 'farm to fork', is increasingly popular, so having home-grown and home-reared Scottish produce on supermarket shelves, is key. One such product that is proving hugely popular, is Galloway branded beef.

One of the oldest and purest of Scotland’s native cattle breeds, the Galloway is a hill type that might not be first that comes to mind when it comes to beef from the supermarket, but thanks to a link up with Aldi, it's hitting the shelves and proving a massive hit.

The past couple of years have seen Galloway beef burgers on Aldi shelves during BBQ season – and selling out with each release – but this year you could have a prime joint of Galloway beef on your festive dinner table, too.

Chairman of the development committee of the Galloway Cattle Society and farm manager at Klondyke Farms, near Thornhill, Scott McKinnon, explained: “The Galloway Cattle Society recognised a few years ago that we needed to take action to halt the decline in the breed. We worked with consultants and managed to secure some funding, firstly to undertake some research with our members, and then to run a two-year project which was part funded by LEADER.

“That project meant we were able to put really strong foundations in place, like the development of our quality assurance scheme. It also meant we were able to work with experts on marketing and supply chain development, and that’s been transformative for the prospects of the Galloway.

“It’s a difficult thing to balance the potential you know is in a breed with the supply realities, but Aldi was top of our list of retailers we wanted to work with, mainly because of their track record in championing some of the very best produce in Scotland.

"So, we were delighted when they agreed to trial a Galloway Burger in 2019, and the response to that product was just incredible,” he added.

This winter, Aldi has launched of a trio of Scotch Galloway beef joints and they will be available from its 96 Scottish stores over the festive period.

Aldi’s trio of joints – Scotch Galloway Beef Sirloin Joint, Scotch Galloway Beef Rump Joint, and Scotch Galloway Beef Joint wrapped in Ayrshire bacon – will give customers the opportunity to try a range of what they believe to be the breed’s best cuts.

Breed secretary of Galloway Cattle Society, Dorothy Goldie, explained how important Aldi’s support was in raising awareness of Galloway beef and supporting traditional Scottish farming. She said: “Showcasing Galloway Beef creates an important new commercial opportunity; one that will help secure the future of the Galloway breed in Scotland.

"Upland hill breeds, like the Galloway, are set to play an essential role in delivering more environmentally friendly farming, and opening up commercial routes to market is critically important in driving demand."

The supermarket also plans to partner with three leading Scottish chefs to help inspire customers to choose Scotch Galloway Beef this Christmas.

Earlier this year, Aldi’s 'Gourmet' Galloway burgers returned as a limited-edition Specialbuy and the supermarket partnered with Galloway Cattle Society chef ambassador, Fraser Cameron, to help raise the profile of the breed amongst customers.

Aldi's group buying director in Scotland, Graham Nicolson, said: “Galloway beef is some of the best in the world and we’re pleased to be working with Scotbeef and the Galloway Cattle Society this Christmas to bring our customers three fantastic Scotch Galloway beef joints.

“We have long championed the breed and in May, we were pleased to bring back our popular Gourmet Galloway burgers, which proved to be another huge hit with our customers.

“It is clear the demand is there, which is why we wanted to strengthen our Scotch Galloway Beef product range and further support Scottish farmers this Christmas. These joints have been expertly selected for their superior taste and texture and provide a great opportunity for even more of our customers to try this famous breed.”

Aldi is working with long-term supplier, Scotbeef, to source the certified Scotch Beef PGI joints from select assured Scottish farmers.

CEO at Scotbeef, Robbie Galloway, backed Mr Nicolson’s sentiments, explaining: “We’re proud of the partnership we have built with Aldi over the years and to be working with them on delivering these unique, locally sourced Galloway joints for their customers.

"Historically, the Galloway has been overlooked by supermarkets, so it is hugely positive for Scottish farmers and the wider red meat industry that Aldi is such a strong supporter and champion of the breed.”

As a society, it is already looking to the future and hoping to build on the successful Aldi partnership. Scott McKinnon added: “There simply aren’t enough Galloways in Scotland – yet – to supply year round beef to a national retailer, so the opportunity to showcase our beef during the festive season is a huge vote of confidence by Aldi, both in our members, and in the quality of Galloway beef as a premium choice.

"A premium of 30p per kg is being paid on the beef that's going to Aldi, above the standard rate, so it really is an important boost for the breed and those supplying cattle. We hope that it encourages more people to help with the demand!

“We are very ambitious for the future of Galloways and we want to see more cattle on the hills, not just across Scotland. We are now starting to see a growing interest from farmers across the UK and Ireland in stocking the breed, and the society is exploring how we can drive demand for Galloway beef across the UK.

"It’s taken us a few years to get to this point, but hopefully this is just the start of a very exciting future for the Galloway breed,” he concluded.

The three Galloway beef joints will be available from Aldi stores in Scotland from December 19.