MIXED REACTION TO NEW EXPORT BRANDS FOR CEREALS

TWO NEW export brands for British cereals launched at the European Grain Bourse in Paris last week met with a mixed reaction from buyers.

The branding initiative is led by the British Cereal Exports division of the Home-Grown Cereals Authority to make the British market more intelligible to foreign buyers. Called UKP for bread wheat, and UKS for soft wheat, each brand has rigidly defined specifications.

 Essia Bejaoui, grain buyer for the state-run Tunisian Grain Office, said they would provide the basis for negotiations. “The new brand will do much better. We are buying according to specification, not variety.”

 The UK currently does little business with Tunisia, and it is hoped the branding will help British wheat compete in non-EU markets.

Paolo Cardoso, a production manager for Portuguese miller Moagem Ceres, said he would buy UKP rather than variety. “We will set specifications and buy a blend.”

But Portuguese grain trader Dionisio da Silva said: “You lose in the new logos the more detailed specification. In my view, that was the strength of the UK market.

 “More and more clients are very demanding in specification. Branding makes a market apparently more simple, but tells you very little.”

Jos Sol Vilanova, a buyer at Spanish grain giant Harinera Vilafranquina, which buys up to 150,000t of wheat a year from the UK, said of the new British branding: “It will be easier to compare with other brands in France and Germany, but we will carry on buying the varieties.”