22 September 1995

Advertising campaign puts a healthy case for meat…

By Peter Bullen

MEATS vital contribution to a healthy diet will be highlighted in a £2m advertising campaign starting next week.

The Meat and Livestock Commission is hoping to surprise consumers with a series of ads designed to dispel the myth that meat is fatty and unhealthy.

A plate of a favourite dish for slimmers, cottage cheese, is shown next to one of a trimmed pork leg steak weighing the same as the cheese. Which has less fat? The pork.

Likewise, a steak is pictured that has less fat than a salmon steak and a cut of lamb with less fat than in two poached eggs. Another ad will picture the 24oz heap of spinach that would have to be eaten to provide the same amount of iron as a 6oz grilled rump steak.

This aspect of red meat is being stressed against the background of iron deficiency in 20% of small children and 33% of British women.

Also, a survey of 891 professional health workers showed 50% incorrectly rated spinach as a better source of iron than beef.

Already started

MLC marketing director Gwyn Howells said the commission had already started the long-term campaign by putting the facts over to health professionals and home economists.

Advertising to consumers begins in the national Press and womens magazines next Tuesday, with extra information available on teletext and the internet.

Posters, leaflets and key facts sheets are being sent to surgeries and health centres, butchers, caterers and supermarkets.

The £2m campaign is seen by MLC as the "rational" follow up to its successful "emotional" £10m The Recipe for Love campaign.

It was based on years of livestock breeding and feeding developments and improvements in butchery and meat preparation that had cut the fat content of pork by one third over the past 20 years, said Mr Howells. However, consumer knowledge about the new, leaner composition of meat was weak.

Funds for the £2m campaign will come out of this years budget and would not mean an increase in MLCs levy, he added.