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Meat for Muscle and Healthy Ageing

Tuesday, 04 August 2015 09:55

by Dr. Vanessa Woods, Agri Aware

In Ireland, people are living longer and with the demise of the Celtic Tiger, many people are having to work past pensionable age. Whether you hope to relax and enjoy the later chapters of your life, or continue working, you need to be fit and healthy.  Our health is our most valuable asset and investing in it is the best investment we can make.  Food is the fuel for our bodies and a good diet and some exercise are essential for good health.

As we get older, we lose muscle mass and we are not as robust, explaining how we may notice that our parents become smaller as they age. This muscle loss is a natural phenomenon known as Sarcopenia and it is thought to affect 30% of individuals over 60 years old and more than 50% of those over 80 years old. It contributes to frailty and loss of independence, and increases the risk of falls and fractures, thereby threatening healthy ageing.

Sarcopenia is more commonly seen in people who do not perform regular exercise and in those who do not consume adequate levels of high quality protein in their diet. The balance between the rate of muscle protein synthesis (growth) and muscle protein breakdown (loss) in our body determines whether we gain, maintain, or lose muscle in response to many factors such as exercise, nutrition and disease. Sarcopenia is caused by a combination of factors, such as a lower rate of protein synthesis in older muscle, a reduced growth response to nutrients such as protein, and/or increased muscle breakdown due to disease or inactivity. If we could maintain muscle mass, we could slow down the ageing process and a healthy diet will achieve this.  One of the secrets to holding onto our physical fitness is to include high quality protein in our diet and take a modest amount of exercise.

Many studies have shown that older people can increase their muscle mass with regular physical activity, especially resistance-based strength exercise. Numerous studies have also shown the ability of high quality protein to stimulate muscle growth and to reduce muscle loss in ageing people. Furthermore, consuming 20-30g protein during each meal can also maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis in younger people and some studies show that an additional 20% may be required to deliver this effect in older people. Recent studies highlight the importance of ingesting a sufficient amount of protein with every meal, as opposed to the common pattern in the Western diet, where little protein is eaten at breakfast and lunch and a lot is eaten at dinner. Combined with exercise, an even distribution of 20-30g protein at each meal is thought to be optimal for developing or maintaining muscle and contributing to healthy ageing. In total, the average middle-aged adult should be aiming for 80-100g protein per day.

Beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products are all quality protein sources that contain essential amino acids (building blocks for protein), that the body needs to build and repair muscle and thus manage or delay the onset of Sarcopenia.

Professor Paddy Wall, Associate Professor of Public Health, School of Public Health, UCD, says “The old adages ‘Your health is your wealth’ and ‘You are what you eat’ are still as true as ever. Many people only start to pay attention to diet and exercise after they have a health scare, but prevention is far better than cure. For many of us, if we pay attention to diet and exercise, chronological age will become irrelevant and 60 will be the new 30 and 90 the new 60!”

Dawn Meats has received approval from the EU Competition Commission for its acquisition of a 49% stake in Elivia, a €1 billion turnover business and the No. 2 beef and veal processor in France.

The agreement with Elivia’s owners (French cooperative Terrena), also includes an option for Dawn Meats to increase its stake in Elivia to 70% by 2019. 

Elivia is a major player in agrifood in France; it is located in Western France, one of the leading farming regions of Europe, comprising the Loire region, Poitou-Charentes and Brittany.  Elivia employs 2,600 staff and has annual revenues of over €1bn.

The deal will see sharing of best practice to deliver growth based on quality, efficiency and the joint development of new opportunities.

Commenting, Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats said:
“In a consolidating industry we believe that this deal brings considerable scale and knowledge sharing benefits to both parties.  Our aim is to leverage our leadership position in traceability and sustainability so that we are at the vanguard of meat marketing internationally. Our scale, premium positioning and routes to market will benefit our customers and thousands of farmer suppliers in Ireland, the UK and now, via Elivia, in France.” 

Elivia will continue to be managed by its current chief executive Guy Wermeister.

Dawn Meats in partnership with Costco proudly accepted the award for ‘Best Lamb Product’ at this year’s Meat Management Awards which took place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on Tuesday 30th June 2015. 

As one of the highlights of the meat industry calendar, the annual Meat Management Awards sets a benchmark for recognising excellence throughout the meat industry. Dawn Meats was awarded ‘Best Lamb Product’ for their Slow + Low Moroccan Lamb with an Apricot Glaze as supplied to Costco.

With continuous investment in market and consumer insight and research and development, Dawn Meats are committed to producing consistently high quality meat products through innovation that meet the evolving demands of today’s modern consumer.

Commenting, Kristian Gabrielson, Costco Account Manager, Dawn Meats said: “We are delighted to be awarded with the title ‘Best Lamb Product’. It is an honour and testament to our dedicated team to be recognised for the hard work, passion and commitment they continually place on creating innovative, high-quality, award winning products for our customers”.

Also commenting on the award, Alison Leech, Buyer, Costco said: “Working in partnership with Dawn Meats, we strive to develop high quality and innovative products that show great value to our customers. Winning ‘Best Lamb Product’ is a terrific accolade and one that we are proud to accept”.  

See page 38 & 42 to see our Dawn Meats feature and advert in the Meat Management Awards 2015 Brochure: 

Pictured L-R: Sponsor Matthew Southam of AHDB Beef and Lamb, Alison Leech of Costco, David Angell of Dawn Meats, Gemma Raines of Costco and guest speaker Paul Zerdin.

Image Source: Meat Management Magazine

Today in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, The Ronald McDonald House Charity (RMHC) and Dawn Meats launched a themed garden at Bloom 2015 that will provide a warm and inviting sanctuary for families at difficult times. Designed by Kildare-based garden designer Anthony Ryan, the garden’s theme is “Keeping Families Together.” The garden has been awarded the Gold Medal in the Concept Garden Category.

For over 10 years, the Ronald McDonald House Charity has worked to keep families close to their sick child by providing a “home from home” with home-cooked meals, accommodation and a welcoming living environment on the grounds of Crumlin Children’s Hospital. The ethos of the House is to give families the practical supports to stay together and assist each other when faced with serious or long-term illnesses. Working with one of its key supporters, Dawn Meats, RMHC is now re-creating that inviting and peaceful sanctuary for adults and children at Bloom.  

Commenting on the collaboration, Paul Nolan, Group Development Manager, Dawn Meats said:

“We have worked with the Ronald McDonald House for many years now, and continue to be inspired by the support and hope they give at the most difficult time for any parent; the illness of a child. Anyone who has visited the Ronald McDonald House, will be aware of its very special atmosphere, and through this collaboration at Bloom, we hope to encourage others to show their support and offer assistance to this most worthy cause.”

Commenting Marian Carroll, Volunteer CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charity said

“We opened the first Ronald McDonald House in November 2004, and since then, we have provided accommodation, care and support for over 2,600 families from all over Ireland. Families stay for a few days, a few weeks and in many cases for many months. We keep families together, and try to maintain as much of a sense of normalcy for them as is possible in such difficult times. I thank Anthony Ryan for his outstanding work on our garden, and I hope our presence here serves to make even more families aware of the support that we can provide.”

Pupils of Patna Primary School, Cumnock, East Ayrshire are reaping the benefits of having a good start to the day thanks to the generosity of Dawn Meats and Greggs Bakers.

Between them, they are sponsoring the school’s free breakfast club which caters for up to 50 pupils every morning, with start-up funds from Dawn Meats enabling the purchase of utensils, toaster, fridge, freezer and games for social time, while Greggs Bakers is supplying all bread products.

Niall Brennan of Dawn Meats said: “Family is very important to our company. We are a family business, working with thousands of family farms across the UK and Ireland – children are at the heart of those families. Greggs Breakfast Club gives children a great start to their school day and a better chance of successful early learning and we are delighted to support it”.

Head teacher at Patna PS, Sharon Yorston, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding. This will enhance the social and educational learning of our children”.

On Friday 27th March Dawn Meats celebrated the 10th anniversary of the opening of its Cross Hands site in Carmarthenshire, Wales. The state of the art retail and foodservice packing facility officially opened its doors in March 2005 and produces a range of premium beef, pork and lamb products as well as added value and fully cooked convenience red meat and poultry products for retail and food service customers.

Following significant investment over the last ten years in Cross Hands, over 500 staff are now employed on the site that has a production capacity of 1,000 tonnes per week. The facility features the latest technology in traceability, robotics, packaging, labelling and slicing, allowing for the processing of a wide range of products in a variety of packaging formats.

Dawn Meats Cross Hands has established a reputation as a centre for product innovation over the last decade. In 2014 the site won 10 separate independent awards for such innovation.  Separately, in keeping with the strong Group-wide focus on sustainability, just last year, Cross Hands delivered a 65% reduction in water consumption and a 50% reduction in energy consumption on site.

To mark the 10th anniversary, Cross Hands hosted a lunch for staff, featuring some of Dawn Meats’ multi-award winning products, including the Product of the Year 2014 - Smoky Barbecue Pulled Pork. Commenting, Charlotte Sutton of Dawn Meats said “Today we are celebrating with the staff who, over the last decade, have built Cross Hands into a world-class facility, with a keen eye for innovation and operational excellence. I would like to thank our Cross Hands team for their commitment and support over the last 10 years. This has been a site of growth and innovation since 2005, and we are in the process of investing further in the site to meet the evolving demands of the modern consumer and secure volume, growth and employment for the future. We look forward to another 10 years of business growth in Wales.”

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