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Dairy industry launches £1 million promotional campaign

Set up in response to the milk market turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign will highlight the important role fresh milk and dairy produce plays during the lockdown.

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Dairy industry launches £1 million promotional campaign

The campaign follows weeks of severe market disruption which have seen processors drop prices, defer payments and implement reduced production levels to negate the impact, with farmers left facing the brunt of the economic turbulence.

 

An estimated 5,200 dairy farmers have already been impacted, with the bill for price cuts calculated at £20m for April and May.

 

Jointly funded by AHDB, Dairy UK and the devolved governments, the new 12-week campaign will focus on driving households’ ‘hot drink occasions’ and will appear on social media, digital and television.


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Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, said: “We want to highlight the central and sometimes forgotten role dairy plays as part of our everyday lives.

 

“We want to remind people of the importance of taking a moment to connect with each other while enjoying the foods they love.

 

“We can still take a moment for ourselves and others in these most challenging of times and we can still enjoy nutritious dairy.”

 

Giving his thoughts on the campaign, NFU dairy board chairman, Michael Oakes, said: “This £1m marketing campaign is a much-needed and timely boost for the dairy sector which has been hit severely by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

“Although retail sales of dairy products have been fairly strong during the lockdown period, now is the time to see a coordinated promotional effort across social media and on TV to remind everyone how important dairy is in their daily lives as part of a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet.

 

“I know dairy farmers will want to be involved in this campaign to drive consumption of British dairy products now and for the long term, and we will do all we can to make this a really positive showcase of our sector."

Progress

 

The campaign has ministerial support with Defra Secretary George Eustice stating the promotional drive would help drive milk consumption and boost sales.

 

He said: “We have already relaxed competition rules so dairy farmers can work more closely together on the challenges they are facing, and will continue to support them.”

 

Welsh Government Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths also said governments across the UK would use the powers available to protect the supply chain and mitigate disruption to producers and processors.

 

Slow

 

But some in the dairy industry have been left frustrated at Government’s handling of the situation and the apparent lack of progress with Defra’s dairy hardship fund, with Shadow Food and Farming Minister Daniel Zeichner voicing these concerns and describing the Government’s response as ‘too slow’.

 

He said: "Everything that is said now was true a month ago when the Government had its first attempt, which was widely criticised at the time for being too limited. Farmers who have had to dispose of milk already will be livid and understandably so.

 

"The one thing consistent about Government’s response so far has been that it has been too slow."

 

Mr Oakes added: "We know there are still many dairy farmers facing immediate financial hardship due to the effects of market volatility caused by Covid-19 and we need to avoid irreparable damage to the dairy supply chain in the longer term.

 

"That is why the NFU is continuing to work with Defra to get urgent, targeted financial support to these farmers.”

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