An increase in direct marketing and promotional activity is required to boost consumer spending on beef and lamb and take advantage of the growing premium market for red meat.
Ladies in Beef (LIB) co-founder Jilly Greed said the sector was ‘missing an opportunity’ by concentrating on cuts and the quality standard mark instead of brand development and product differentiation between slowly matured suckler beef and dairy beef.
Mrs Greed said she felt the AHDB Beef and Lamb funded group was being ‘held back’ from pursuing new avenues of promotion as the levy board worked to cut costs.
As Farmers Guardian reported last week, AHDB Beef and Lamb refused a £50,000 proposal to fund LIB’s promotional activities, including its Save Our Sucklers (SOS) campaign.
Mrs Greed said: “Commoditisation of the beef market is not going to work in our domestic and overseas markets and while we continue to do it, our competitors in the US, Australia and Ireland are stealing a march on us.
“We need to be more ambitious with our brand promotion and tell the story. We believe ‘grass-fed’ and ‘natural’ as a proposition has resonance with consumers in the UK as well as other English-speaking markets.”
She pointed to the example set by the poultry industry, where a range of differentiated offers, largely based around slower growing breeds, poultry husbandry and production methods, have helped to make it the number one protein in the UK.
Ladies in Pigs funding fear
Ladies in Pigs chairman Sue Woodall said she feared her group’s 2016 planned promotional activities, driven by AHDB Pork, focused too heavily on the board’s pulled pork campaign and were in danger of neglecting other work around different cuts, including pork mince.
Educational work at schools and shows could also be affected, she said.