26 June 1998

FWcampaigns beef success

ITS official: farmers weeklys British Beef is Best Campaign (Opinion and News, Jan 30) was a roaring success.

After FWs high-profile campaign, the consumption of British beef rose by more than 17% in the first quarter of the year to reach 1.709m tonnes, according to figures released by the Meat and Livestock Commission this week.

During the same period, consumption of imported beef fell 19% on the year to 449,000t. Overall consumption of beef and veal for the quarter rose by 7.4% from 2.01m tonnes to 2.16m tonnes.

Although our campaign did not increase beef prices at the farm gate, the increased beef consumption was worth more than £100m to British farmers, said MLC director general, Colin Maclean.

Consumers decision to choose British beef was all the more significant bearing in mind the 15% price differential favouring imported products, he added.

"FWs British Beef is Best Campaign succeeded because not only did it put pressure on UK meat buyers, it also encouraged farmers and their families to question the origin of beef in supermarkets and other retailing and catering outlets.

"The MLC is delighted with the results. They demonstrate a huge vote of confidence from British consumers in British beef," Mr Maclean said.

Stephen Howe