Jacob Anthony: Identity crisis? I’m a proud UK farmer

I don’t know about anyone else, but this month is making me think an awful lot about national identity and how we should all be proud of our individual heritage.

This could be as a result of the exciting climax that is currently building within the Six Nations (hopefully I have not jinxed Wales by saying this), or the fact that the B-word is potentially only a number of weeks away.

With this in mind, we are likely to be presented with an array of opportunities with regard to the branding of our packaging of future food and drink exports. 

See also: More columns from Jacob Anthony

I am not saying, for instance, that on 29 March we will be faced with queues of global suitors waiting to sign on the dotted line to take our products.

I understand that things do not happen overnight, but in time there is potential for trade deals, not just with Europe, but also with new lucrative markets further afield.

Quality over quantity

The biggest challenge will be tapping into, and exploiting, that potential – especially in terms of the new markets, who are yet to sample any large quantity of the high-end, quality produce that us farmers here in Britain can provide.

The here and now presents itself as the best possible time to capitalise on country and regional identities.

For instance, Welsh lamb is a very well-recognised brand that is seen as being high-quality, premium meat.

Therefore, just as Hybu Cig Cymru/Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) have recently stated, why not use the Welsh dragon emblem on all packaging that originates from Wales? It will act as so much more than just a logo in terms of marketing purposes.

It will emphasise its association with food that has been produced to high standards using traditional methods – it adds value to the product while also increasing its desirability for the end-consumer.

This is definitely something the country should contemplate moving forward. Many of the different regions here in the UK are already using famous, world-renowned branding – for example, Scotch whisky, Lincolnshire sausages, Somerset cider – just to name a few.

Powerful identity

Every part of the country has the chance to push their identity through this branding. We all have unique selling points and stories behind the way we farm, and it should be recognised in the branding of these products.

Quality over quantity is definitely the best way for us to compete; we are the best in the world when it comes to quality. Fact.

Although some may disagree, I think all of the above should be done in conjunction with the Union Jack.

Each of our individual regional identities should be proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the unmistakable red, white and blue crosses of Great Britain.

This not only conveys our patriotism, but also emphasises an element of unity in its positioning alongside our own distinct insignia.

Using these together can be a powerful tool; the British flag is already widely recognised. In order to infiltrate these new markets – to start anyway – it could prove key to have our unions’ symbolic flag alongside our own specific logos.

Shout out to the world

None of this is going to be easy, but we must box clever, even if it is a “horses for courses” type approach when it comes to each specific market.

I know that clever branding has tremendous purse power. We have all bought into the ideal that associates a particular logo or sticker with superior quality and heritage.

It is undeniable that we relish the fact that what we purchase through our choices of consumption is from an authentic region renowned for a particular prowess.

Let’s be proud to say where we are from and be even prouder to shout about where our food is produced.

We have a story here to tell as British farmers; let’s make this a way to get it out there to the world.