Levy boards celebrate success of lockdown red meat campaigns

Red meat promotion campaigns by levy boards have been hailed as successes after reaching millions of consumers and bolstering sales during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) and the AHDB cam together to combat plummeting sales after coronavirus restrictions saw food service sector demand collapse.

The lockdown in March also sparked panic-buying of cheaper products such as mince, which had a knock-on effect of creating a surplus of more expensive cuts.

See also: 6 ways livestock farmers can improve carcass eating quality

As premiums fell away, the meat promotion bodies responded with targeted campaigns to boost home-cooking using a wider proportion of cuts across the carcass. 

Welsh success

In Wales, HCC booked almost a thousand advertising slots on commercial radio and quickly chalked up exposure that reached more than one million listeners.

Cooking videos, filmed at home by celebrity chefs, added a further 1.2m hits through social media channels, with the exposure yielding a tangible result in Wales, according to HCC brand marketing executive Philippa Gill.

“We started our Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef campaign in March, when the markets were very unstable.

“By May, total sales of beef steaks were running at 40% above the previous year, and independent butchers were seeing nearly 50% more custom for beef and were selling 25% more lamb,” she said. 

The initiatives in Wales were further supported through a partnership with the AHDB and QMS. Together the bodies mounted the £1.2m ‘Make It…’ campaign to generate awareness of high-quality British red meat.

In eight weeks, a digital campaign generated over 187m opportunities for consumers to see ideas for red meat recipes. 

Scottish TV boost

Meanwhile, in Scotland, a cross-media QMS campaign included a partnership with STV, and two other TV channel sponsorships.

The recipe ideas and practical cooking tips were mainly aired within peak-time viewing hours, covering shows such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street.

Overall, the ongoing STV partnership, which features beef, lamb and pork, is expected to reach more than  2.7 million consumers – four out of five adults in Scotland.

Social media celebrities were also enlisted, reaching more than 1.1m views across various formats.

Marketing director at QMS in Scotland, Lesley Cameron, said: “We are delighted with the results of the ‘Make It Scotch Beef’ campaign, which have exceeded our initial expectations.

“By profiling Scotch Beef PGI’s provenance, flavour, versatility and integrity, the campaign has delivered impressive reach for the Scottish red meat industry.”

Ms Cameron added: “This is particularly significant at a time when people are becoming more attuned to shopping locally and learning more about where their ingredients are coming from.”