‘Marketing is vital for pig farmers’

Pig farmers need to give serious consideration to the amount of time they spend on marketing, urged Blythburgh Free Range Pork’s Alastair Butler, at the annual JSR Conference, Sutton Bonnington, Nottinghamshire.

“Many pig farmers often confuse marketing for sales, but this is not the case. Marketing is about identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer’s wants and needs, and it is important we tap in to this,” he said.

Although marketing has been crucial to the Blythburgh family business, Mr Butler explained how it was important, even for primary producers supplying supermarkets, to get involved in marketing. “Marketing is essential to all businesses and it’s important to educate and communicate with all of your customers throughout the supply chain,” he told delegates.

He explained how better marketing in the industry could help develop a commodity own label brand like “British Pork”. “Consumers are confused by labelling and if I was to ask anyone in this room what the difference was between rare breed, local, outdoor bred, free range or barn-reared on straw, we would probably be left confused too, which is concerning.

“For this reason we need to market our produce on the unique selling points we already have – such as high welfare standards, local food, and meat you can trust.”

But knowing what customers require and continuously reviewing and improving the end product is vital, added Mr Butler. “Customers needs and wants change, so it is vital to keep reviewing things in order to stay ahead of the competition.

And CEO of Tulip UK Steve Murrell, agreed with Mr Butler that being flexible and changing to meet the demands of the consumer was something pig farmers needed to think more about doing. “It’s the ability to constantly change that allows innovation and we need to understand customer’s preferences, such as an increasing interest in the environment, for example, in order to deliver solutions. But clear communication throughout the supply chain is important for this to be delivered,” he added.