9 July 1999

Rush to jump on brand marketing bandwagon

By James Garner

MARKETING mania hit the Royal Show, with a plethora of beef and sheep breeds marketing meat butties under their own banners.

While the stand selling Simmental beef rolls continued its usual roaring trade, the Charolais, Limousin, Welsh Black and Murray Grey societies joined in to give their breeds a strong push.

The Charolais Society also promoted its Orkney Island Gold label with a series of cookery demonstrations, while Safeway and HM Bennett launched a Welsh Mountain lamb promotion (see Business).

In the search for added value, regional and brand marketing schemes seem to be increasingly popular in the UK. However, industry experts – and show goers – are worried about whether their approaches will be co-ordinated and will boost meat sales as a whole.

But collaborative marketing was a key part of MAFFs stand at the Royal show. It recognises that co-operation between producers is well established in France and the rest of Europe, and warns that UK producers will be at a disadvantage unless economies of scale improve.

Current market circumstances have led MAFF to join forces with the NFU to set up a collaborative marketing scheme to help producers become part of farmer-run co-ops.

The scheme, based on grass root acceptance from producers of the benefits of collective marketing, is designed to promote co-operation, said a MAFF spokesman.

"Its not a panacea and it wont suit everyone. But there are established groups and producers might want to use these to get the product right, keep it right and understand the market to ensure added value."

However, it is not designed to increase the number of individual groups. "There are niche areas for regional speciality foods and marketing groups around a product, but there is no magic formula.

"We are trying to make people think about the concept, and either join an established groups or form one themselves."

MARKETING

&#8226 Regional branding.

&#8226 More breeds involved.

&#8226 Risk of fragmentation?