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From the editor: A strong farming brand is key to industry resilience

The commoditisation of British food has, for many farmers, been one of the most dispiriting aspects of recent retail strategies.



Can the British agricultural brand provide a more stable future for our farmers?
Can the British agricultural brand provide a more stable future for our farmers?

The commoditisation of British food has, for many farmers, been one of the most dispiriting aspects of recent retail strategies.

As price wars escalate and the price of food drops to such a level it becomes a throwaway commodity many consumers can afford to dismiss, so the impact is felt at farmgate level.

Dairy has been a prime example. With little or no margin in liquid milk, the farmgate price has dropped to cripplingly low levels.

But is the dairy supply chain waking up to the value of brands and the role they can play in driving a business forward?

Arla’s announcement it is going to pursue a brand-led approach to its products is a bold move and one, perhaps, the industry needs.

With competitors such as Muller making brand strides in the yoghurt market and Dairy Crest in cheese with Cathedral City, it all shows the power these brands and clever marketing can harness.

Not that the returns are currently being passed to their farmer however, and that needs to be rectified as the dairy market shows some signs of recovery, but diversified strategies have to be part of the way forward.

Wider than dairy, the notion of maximising returns is one which resonates in every sector of the industry.

With markets currently buoyed in lamb, for example, now could be the time to assess how to drive longer term resilience in to farm businesses which have traditionally been reliant on the seasonal ebb and flow of the market.

The best businesses, whether they are farming or non-farming, have a range of strategies and income streams so they are not reliant purely on one revenue driver.

Maybe, in these uncertain times, farming can evaluate where the value lies and whether the British agricultural brand is one which can be ramped up to resonate with consumers at home and abroad and, in turn, provide a more stable future for our farmers.


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