9 March 2001

Kiwi campaign for meat axed

MEAT NEW Zealand, the marketing arm for New Zealand meat exports, has decided to pull an advertising campaign that would have coincided with the foot-and-mouth crisis.

MNZ manager John Mabb said that running the campaign would be insensitive given the problem facing UK livestock farmers. "We didnt want to capitalise on the back of the current situation, so weve canned the adverts for the time-being."

The campaign, due to run in glossy magazines and national newspapers, has the tag line "It doesnt get any more free-range than this". Images of open grassland farming might have been construed as being inconsiderate, given that UK farmers cant move their stock at all, said Mr Mabb.

Last year, 100,000t of Kiwi lamb was sold in the UK, but Mr Mabb was unsure whether the current foot-and-mouth epidemic would see a dramatic increase in volume to the UK.

Shortfalls of British meat have increased interest in New Zealand lamb products. But, as they are governed by an EU quota, increasing supply would only be a short-term measure and would be balanced by lower imports later in the year, he said.

While it is theoretically possible to switch supplies from other EU markets to the UK that was unlikely to happen, he added. Demand for New Zealand lamb in Germany, France and Benelux is buoyant following the BSE crisis on the Continent.