Meat industry at odds over beef support

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Meat industry at odds over beef support

Related tags Beef Livestock

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has hit back at the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) assertions that the processing industry needs to do more to support domestic produce.

Earlier this week when addressing falling beef prices, NFU vice president Stuart Roberts urged processors to contribute towards promotional campaigns by matching the financial commitment made by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

He said: “We all know that British farmers produce some of the highest quality, tastiest beef in the world, but certain parts of the supply chain are simply not pulling their weight and promoting it enough. This is why we are urging processors to take a leaf out of the dairy industry’s book and put their support behind a concerted marketing and promotion programme in partnership with AHDB.”

The NFU highlighted how the average price of a R4L steer has dropped 11.4% over the past year.

In a statement responding to the ‘pound-for-pound’ funding from processors, BMPA chief executive Nick Allen expressed disappointment about how the proposal was announced and debunked comparisons made with the UK dairy sector. Stuart Roberts’ call for processors to match the AHDB marketing funding pound-for-pound in a campaign that mirrors the dairy sector approach has left many in the processing sector disappointed both by the approach and by the way that this has been launched in the media before there have been any discussions with the sector,” ​he said.

“Stuart Roberts should know that the meat levies are already funded by about a 25% contribution from processors which is not the case in the dairy sector.  The comparisons with the dairy sector are simply not valid. This current processor contribution amounts to approximately £6m, which easily matches what the AHDB is putting into marketing already.​”

Allen did offer to meet with the supply chain to discuss the issues. “The BMPA would welcome a meeting or even a beef summit involving everyone in the supply chain including the retailers and food service sector who are our link to the consumer.

“There are some underlying long term challenges to meat eating generally and some specific to beef that need addressing and that will only work if the whole supply chain works together rather than parts of the supply chain sniping at one another.”

He called on retailers to do their part to support domestic meat and praised AHDB for progress made. “We believe that any promotional campaign should be embarked on with the support of retailers and the food service sector. Their support at store level and in the increasingly important eating out of home space would magnify industry marketing spend and deliver more value for money for levy payers. 

“For some time now many meat processors have been calling for AHDB to refocus its marketing programmes to deal with the issues that they believe are really damaging the sector and to promote and advocate in such a way as to mitigate that damage. In fairness, the AHDB has listened and has formed an industry group to work together to address what most people accept are the underlying long-term issues.”

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