Scotch Beef PGI

What is PGI?

Scotch Beef PGI

PGI stands for Protected Geographical Indication. It’s an EU scheme to protect and promote high quality traditional and regional food products unique to a geographic area. Scotch Beef has long held this coveted PGI status.

Scotch Beef PGI is only sourced from selected Scottish farms that adopt best practice regarding animal welfare and production methods. When you see the PGI badge with the Scotch Beef logo, you can be confident that all cattle were born, reared and processed in Scotland and hold whole life quality assurance.

Scottish Beef

Scottish beef is ordinary beef from Scotland. It refers to beef from any cattle that have been born, reared and processed in Scotland without our quality guarantees. It holds no PGI status.

What does Scotch Beef PGI mean to me?

A cracking bit of beef!

You can be sure that whenever you buy Scotch Beef PGI that it’s the genuine article. The farms and processors are independently audited to make sure they meet our requirements regarding animal welfare and natural production methods. This means that the Scotch Beef PGI you buy is fully traceable to farms of origin, and is the best quality beef you can buy.

Special attention is paid to animal welfare and wellbeing

The QMS Welfare and Wellbeing Charter

QMS is a Scottish Public Body with an overall strategy to shape a sustainable and prospering Scottish red meat industry. Animal Welfare and Wellbeing are important factors in this strategy, and the guiding principles in this Animal Welfare and Wellbeing Charter are embedded in all QMS Quality Assurance Schemes and activities. QMS recognises the Scottish SPCA as its leading partner in matters relating to Animal Welfare and Wellbeing, and this collaboration underlines our commitment to transparency and independence.

Here you can find more about the guiding principles of this Animal Welfare and Wellbeing Charter.

Sustainable farming

The rules

Our farmers follow certain practices to help them farm sustainably and produce the highest quality Scotch Beef. The Scottish industry works very closely with the Scottish SPCA (Scotland’s animal welfare charity). Scottish inspectors regularly visit our farms and animal health is also a priority in Scottish livestock production.

Production plays an important part in sustaining the diverse landscape for which Scotland is famed. Scotland’s hill livestock farmers typically farm both cattle and sheep, a mixed grazing system which benefits landscape biodiversity (Source: Scottish Natural Heritage).

Here you can read more about all the other sustainable farming practices.

Social Sustainability


Sustaining Jobs

Around 33,000 jobs in Scotland depend on the Scottish red meat industry, and many of these jobs sustain employment in fragile rural communities.

Farming Families

Scottish livestock farms typically remain in the same family, allowing farming skills to be passed down through generations. This includes invaluable knowledge of the terrain and conditions, as well as animal care skills.

Social Heritage

Livestock production has played a key role in Scotland’s social heritage for centuries. Cattle farming remains at the heart of rural communities throughout the country.

Know your Scotch Beef Cuts

Cut 1. Neck

As a result of being heavily exercised, the neck and shoulder area of the animal comprise a range of intricate muscles, rich in collagen and full of flavour. Generally they are cheaper cuts of meat as there is a reasonable amount of fat and connective tissue throughout. For best results, it is recommended to cook slowly with plenty of moisture.

Cut 2. Clod

One of the more economical cuts, the shoulder clod is a versatile cut that’s full of flavour with a reasonable amount of fat and connective tissue throughout. For best results, it is recommended to cook slowly with plenty of moisture.

Cut 3. Chuck / Blade

The chuck and blade is Ideal for slow cooking, braising and slow roasting. It’s also very popular for marinating and mincing because of the balance between flavoursome beef and fat content. The feather muscle comes from this area, and when cooked slowly gives a gelatinous consistency much loved by chefs.

Cut 4. Leg of mutton/thick rib

This unusual cut is gaining in popularity. Located inside the shoulder, once fully seamed, the leg of mutton cut is lean, fine textured and full of flavour. Cut thinly, it’s ideal for frying, but will dry out and become tough very quickly if overcooked.

Cut 5. Brisket

Brisket is located further forward than flank, but shares a lot of similarities. With lots of texture and reasonable fat cover, it works well with a moist slow heat. You wont get many better cuts for curing, braising and slow cooking.

Cut 6. Shin

The end of the animal’s front legs, the shin is generally inexpensive. It should be given plenty of time to cook slowly and can be obtained either on or off the bone. Foodies particularly enjoy the marrow in the bone – a very continental delicacy.

Cut 7. Loin

The loin is made up of various ribs known as steaks. Sirloin steak left on the bone with fillet attached is called T-bone and sirloin left on the bone but without the fillet is called L bone. Loin cuts from the hindquarter begin from between the 10th and 11th rib. Rib eye is a forequarter cut taken from the fore rib, between the 6th and 10th ribs.

Cut 8. Fillet

Although the fillet only covers less than 1% of the carcase, it’s always the most expensive. It’s the least exercised muscle of the animal and is known for its tenderness, which is why it’s often referred to as tenderloin. Weighing approximately 2 – 2.5 kgs, it’s made up of the head, the canon and the tail.

Cut 9. Flank

The flank is a long, flat and very flavoursome cut from the animal’s stomach muscles. As a result of being a well-exercised part of the animal, this muscle has an array of fibres and connective tissues. Steaks from the flank must be served rare or should employ alternative, slower cooking techniques.

Cut 10. Rump/Popseye

Rump is made up of three very different muscles – rump cap, rump heart (or eye) and rump tail. These cuts can be cooked as roasts or sliced into high quality steaks, rump heart being the most tender. The cap (or cover), which is least tender, is often served in some countries as piccanha.

Cut 11. Topside/Silverside

Topside can be served whole, rolled, cap on or off. When fully trimmed, there is not much surface or intra muscular fat, so topside should be cooked medium to medium rare to remain moist. If the joint is to be cooked well done a longer slower method will be better.

Cut 12. Hind shin

Shin, also known as leg of beef in England, is rich in collagen and connective tissue and has delicious marrow running through the hollow centre of the bone. It’s essential to cook slowly at a low temperature to produce a rich tasty sauce. Cut right through the bone, it’s perfect for Osso Bucco.

beef Recipes & Tips

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History and Beef Breeds

Scottish Farming Heritage

The history of Scottish farming can be traced back for hundreds of years. Today, the farming industry is the biggest determinant of Scotland’s landscape, with 75% of Scotland’s land mass used for agricultural production.

Livestock production has played a key role in Scotland’s social heritage for centuries, with cattle farming remaining at the heart of rural communities throughout the country. Scottish livestock farms typically remain in the same family, allowing farming skills to be passed down through generations. This includes invaluable knowledge of the terrain and conditions, as well as animal care skills.

Scotland has a proud history of rearing cattle for good quality beef. 70% of the cows in Scotland produce beef, while the remaining 30% of cows are primarily for producing milk. When compared to other parts of Britain where dairy plays a much larger role, it’s easy to see why Scotch Beef has such a good reputation.

Scotland also has a rich diversity of breeds, which, over time, have adapted to the somewhat changeable Scottish climate. Each farm in Scotland will choose the cattle that perform best in their unique environment and landscape. Famous Scottish breeds of beef include the Aberdeen Angus, renowned for its tenderness, flavour and juiciness, and the Highland breed, particularly known for its marbling and succulence.

Selected Beef Breeds

    Galloway Cattle


    Galloways are a hardy breed that originated on the exposed uplands of Galloway in the South West of Scotland. Colours are black, dun, red or belted, with the characteristic white belt encircling the body.

    These naturally polled animals are eminently suited for converting rough grazing into lean meat. Their double coat of long outer hair to shed the rain and soft undercoat for warmth eliminate the need for expensive winter housing. The cows are long living and noted for their rich milk, so make good sucklers for rearing calves by terminal sires, as well as being used for pure breeding.

    Aberdeen Angus Cattle

    Aberdeen Angus

    Aberdeen-Angus is the fastest growing breed of beef cattle in the British Isles, indeed in the world, which reflects growing consumer demand for quality beef with the guarantee and assurance of quality which only Aberdeen-Angus can offer.

    Aberdeen-Angus cattle are easily managed which is an important economic consideration with less labour available on most farms. Advantages include natural polling (hornlessness) which makes for easy calving, regular breeding, good foraging ability, longevity and the ability to produce the highest quality beef naturally on a minimum of concentrate feeding. Aberdeen-Angus cross calves grow quickly and efficiently into highly acceptable quality carcases which meet the modern demand for medium-sized carcases of around 280kg – 320kg.

    Highland Cattle


    This handsome, hardy, native Scottish breed, typified in appearance by long, flowing hair and majestic, sweeping horns, has a long and distinguished history throughout the world.

    On the vast acreages of poor mountain land with high rainfall, Highland cattle excel and thrive where no other cattle breed could exist. Making the most of poor forage, calving outside in all weathers and seldom, if ever, housed they make a real economic contribution to hill and upland areas. Able to withstand extreme weather conditions and to survive naturally and comfortably with no need for extensive feeding of concentrates, the breed also enjoys great longevity.

    The unique maternal attributes of the pure Highland cow make her the first choice for the production of commercial hill cows. These can be sired by many different breeds of bull; recently excellent results have been obtained using continental sires. Pure Highland beef is able to command a premium price.

    Shorthorn Cattle


    Records of the Beef Shorthorn can be found back to the 18th century. Many of the first notable breeders were farming in the North East of England, and gave rise to the early name of the breed, the Durham. The Beef Shorthorn is registered in the oldest herd book in the world, the first volume being published in 1822. During the 19th century two distinct strains of cattle were bred; one predominantly for milk production and the other concentrating on beef quality. Many of the main Beef Shorthorn herds were developed in Scotland.

    The breed is characterised by its colour, and cattle can be a deep red, white, or a mixture of the two, roan. It is a medium to large breed, with a characteristic strength of bone and structural robustness. Despite a period between the 1970′s and the 1990′s when the breed became unfashionable and seriously declined in numbers, the breed is now undergoing a major resurgence.

    Where can I buy Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork?

    Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork are available at most supermarkets, usually at the butcher counter. Just ask the counter staff if you’re not sure.

    You can also buy Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork at independent butchers.

    Find your nearest at our sister site below.

    Scotch Butchers Club

    If you’re not in the mood for cooking, Scotch Beef PGI is also served at many quality restaurants. Find one near you at our sister site below.

    Scotch Beef Club

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