3 July 2000
Britain waters down pigmeat adverts
By Alistair Driver
ANOTHER advertisement in the controversial 4.6 million campaign to promote British pigmeat was unveiled at the Royal Show on Monday (3 July).
But it is less inflammatory and unlikely to court as much controversy as previous adverts used in the campaign by the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC).
Two MLC adverts used earlier this year used shock tactics to show that imported pork sometimes comes from pigs kept in conditions that are illegal in the UK.
One showed a picture of a sow suckling her piglets. It was accompanied by the words: “After shes fed them, she could be fed to them.”
A storm of outrage followed from British processors and retailers, who warned that the campaign could drive down sales of all pigmeat.
Danish farmers were so incensed they reported the Meat and Livestock Commissionto to Britains Advertising Standards Authority.
They may be less infuriated by a new advert which will appear in newspapers this week. It shows nothing more sinister than a picture of a pork chop.
An accompanying slogan tells consumers that looking at bacon will not reveal how the pig it comes from was treated – unless it bears the British Quality Mark.
Chris Lukehurst, MLC pigmeat marketing manager, denied that the commission had been deterred by the barrage of criticism over its first two adverts.
The MLC campaign would continue to emphasise the fundamental difference between pigmeat sold under the mark and imported produce, he said.
“The aim is not increase sales of pigmeat, but to increase sales of British pigmeat,” he told Farmers Weekly.
Mr Lukehurst hit back at the campaigns critics, claiming that Dutch and Danish producers could not guarantee all their pork was welfare-friendly.
Consumer research had revealed that 24% of the public are aware of the campaign, he added. A further 50% could recall the adverts “if prompted”.
Members of the public surveyed about the first two adverts were generally supportive and said their message was worth putting across, he said.
Mr Lukehurst insisted that there was no evidence to suggest the adverts would have an adverse effect on overall pigmeat sales.
He admitted he had no information yet on whether there had been a positive effect on sales, but said that pigmeat prices had risen in the past few weeks.