Many active fitness enthusiasts were surprised to discover the strength and the depth of lamb’s nutritional credentials at tasting sessions which took place around the country.

Volunteer consumer groups were invited to take part in the Welsh Lamb Meat Quality Project which forms one part of the three-strand Red Meat Development Programme (RMDP), a five-year Welsh Government and European Union-funded initiative aiming to enhance the red meat sector in Wales led by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

Following the taste test, information from leading scientists was presented to the consumers that described the nutritional benefits of eating red meat products, especially Welsh lamb.

Consumers were told that Welsh Lamb provides protein, which is essential for muscle building and maintenance especially for sport competitors, athletes and people keeping fit and healthy.

Welsh lamb contains critical minerals including haem iron, which is 2.6 times easier to absorb from lamb consumption than the non-haem iron, as found in vegetables like spinach.

Sport enthusiasts who attended the taste panels were astonished to find out that lamb also carries a potent nutrient “six-pack” of zinc, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A, B and D. Also, when trimmed lamb has a fat content of less than 8 per cent.

At the Cardiff tasting event, local dancer Joseph Evans said: “The lamb tonight was absolutely amazing. As a dancer it is important that your health and nutrition is up to scratch.

"I like to have certain meats in my diet but after this taste testing, I understand the benefits much more and how good Welsh lamb is for you. I’ll be definitely including more lamb in my diet from now on”.

The concentrated consumer sessions saw nearly 500 participants undertake a controlled taste testing at three venues across the country.

“Each volunteer also attends a post-tasting presentation that includes information about Welsh lamb’s vitamins, minerals and other benefits and receives free advice on how Welsh Lamb can be used to cook quick nutritional meals and receives a pack of recipe ideas.” said HCC meat quality executive Dr. Eleri Thomas, who leads the taste programme team.

After hearing of lamb’s nutritional benefits, Llandaff North Women’s rugby players Beth Kenure and Stacey Horne both said they would be eating more lamb – and fellow player Sioned Young said she would use the recipe information she had received on the night to make sure she ordered Welsh lamb directly from her local butcher.

“I was excited to receive the Welsh lamb recipes and I’ll plaster them all over my kitchen! I’ll be off to the butcher to ask for the specific cuts,” she said.