31 March 2000
NFU backs kitemark with campaign

By FWi staff

THE National Farmers Union has dismissed criticism of its new kitemark for British produce and pledged a campaign to ensure it succeeds with consumers.

The kitemark, unveiled by Prime Minister Tony Blair, has so far received a lukewarm reception from farmers and shoppers questioned by FWi.

Many people said the kitemark, which shows an F-shaped tractor, could have been drawn by a child. Unprompted, some shoppers said the kitemark was French.

But a spokesman for the NFU said research for the union clearly showed that the mark would stand out. The public associated the logo with farming, he said.

“A survey carried out by Taylor Nelson which is statistically significant shows the strongest association people have with this logo is that it is British..

“The research showed that the public are fundamentally looking for a single icon which not only says British, but more importantly is a quality mark.”

A national advertising campaign planned by the NFU, including in-store promotions and meet-the-farmer days, will promote the logo to consumers.

“The point we really want to make is that this mark has been driven by consumers,” said the NFU spokesman.

“We took focus groups of consumers and went shopping with them, and looked at the decisions they make when they pick up produce off the shelf.”

The NFU then identified what consumers look for and what criteria make them decide whether or not to buy British food.

The spokesman added: “Interestingly, many of the farmers we presented that information to hadnt been into supermarkets to do their weekly shop.

“But this isnt a logo for farmers – it is a logo to consumers that represents the values that are important to them, and is a single clear indicator of those values.”

Unless the image of British food is strengthened in the eyes of the public, the NFU believes that British farmers will lose out in the face of globalisation.

“We cannot compete on price alone,” said the spokesman. “We have to offer the consumer better value that comes through the brand to shoppers.”