AHDB Dairy’s board has agreed to provide £3.5 million to promote UK dairy products at home and abroad, while also working with Dairy UK to secure EU funding for dairy marketing.
News of extra funding to promote UK dairy products at home and abroad will be welcomed, coming just hours after the Government published controversial recommendations urging consumers to cut back on dairy consumption.
AHDB Dairy and Dairy UK announced a total budget of up to £3.5m of levy money would be made available over the next three years for market development.
The money will be used to support Dairy UK’s export drive, using AHDB’s expertise across its sectors in this area, and to work with the Dairy Council on researching and promoting the nutritional benefits of dairy products.
This provisional budget represents an extra £1.8m in total over the three years compared with the draft market development budget which went out for consultation.
But while the sums announced are not huge, AHDB Board members also agreed to work with Dairy UK to try and secure EU funding available for dairy promotion.
More EU money has been made available for EU dairy promotion, as part of the Commission’s wider support package announced this week.
The two organisations will establish a dairy marketing forum to explore opportunities for a co-funded EU campaign. This could significantly increase the marketing budget although the EU funding will not be available until next year.
AHDB Dairy board chairman Gwyn Jones said: “This gives us a clear chance to develop market opportunities for the dairy industry.
“It must, however, be recognised it’s not the whole answer for the prevailing challenging market conditions the industry is facing.”
Dairy UK chairman David Dobbin welcomed the decision.
He said: "It is vital that the dairy industry educates UK consumers on the nutritional benefits of dairy and promotes the excellence of our dairy products in key exports markets.
"Developing demand for our quality dairy produce and focusing on being more market-led will be key to improve the state of the industry going forward.”
Amanda Ball AHDB Dairy strategy director said, “This is welcome news as it give us the opportunity to create positive demand.
"We will also work with Dairy UK and its exporters group to highlight what AHDB currently does in other sectors and use that to identify opportunities for dairy.
“There is much to be done and we are already in preliminary discussions with Dairy UK.”
Dairy UK chief executive Judith Bryans said: "Working together we have a unique opportunity to develop long term sustainable consumption in the domestic market as well as in international markets
“The next steps will be making sure we develop the right offering to leverage EU funding.
"This is not a short term fix, this is about a sustained focus on developing demand for dairy with current and future generations.”
The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has welcomed the funding.
RABDF chairman, Mike King said: “Whilst £3.5m over a three year period is a relatively small sum towards market development activity, it’s a first step towards a campaign to back up AHDB Dairy’s excellent work being conducted under the ‘protecting the image of dairy farming’ theme.
"We need to ensure AHDB Dairy works with marketeers with a positive track record to ensure that producers’ levy is effectively spent.
“We are also pleased that the AHDB Dairy board has agreed to work with Dairy UK to build on today’s decision and explore opportunities for a co-funded European Union campaign.
“However RABDF continues to urge AHDB Dairy to consider taking a leaf out of AHDB Pork’s book and revise its overall spend, which continues to be heavily weighted towards R&D/Knowledge Exchange."