EU funding secured to promote lamb consumption

Lamb demand could be boosted by a campaign to encourage shoppers to cook with sheepmeat every day.

Levy board Eblex and its French and Irish equivalents have had EU funding confirmed for a three-year £6.17m scheme.

The programme will be run across England, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany and Denmark, markets with big potential where lamb consumption has fallen about 25% since 2000.

It should significantly help British farmers, who produce the majority of lamb traded across Europe.

See also: Farmers can benefit from Eblex teleconferences

Eblex sector director Nick Allen said it had taken a lot of hard work to get there.

“Major European sheepmeat-producing countries have a shared interest in working together to tackle the decline in sheepmeat consumption,” he said.

“With the EU matching our investment, it means we can punch above our weight and reach more consumers with the work we do, with the overall aim of stimulating demand for sheepmeat.”

The aim of the campaign is to raise the likelihood of consumer from these countries buying lamb by 5%.

Efforts will focus on 25- to 45-year-olds and include online messages, work with journalists and food bloggers, in-store and print advertising and support for butchers.

The new initiative will follow up the joint English, Irish and French campaign ‘Agneau Presto’, which has been running in France for the past six years, which helped increase young people’s lamb purchasing by 3.5% in 2012 and 1% in 2013.

To convince European politicians to back the new scheme, the levy boards had to petition the EU Commission to make sheepmeat one of the agricultural productions eligible for promotional support.

Once that was agreed, they could secure the funding, with Eblex, Bord Bia and Interbev contributing £1.19m each annually.

The agreement was announced on Eblex’s stand at SIAL, the world’s second biggest food show, held in Paris every two years.