17 August 1999
MLC in bid to get lamb moving
By FWi staff
THE Meat and Livestock Commissions (MLC) is planning a campaign to stimulate demand for lamb in a bid to help the sheep sector through its current crisis.
A spokesman for the MLC said this move to help struggling sheep farmers is the result of its own concerns – not in response to the NFUs call for government help earlier today.
The Sheep Strategy Council will meet on Thursday (19 August) to see what further action can be taken to help the industry at government and European levels.
Earlier today, the NFU said it would be asking the MLC to look at ways of increasing the market for mutton.
But a spokesman for the MLC said, because mutton only accounted for 5% of the market, they had no plans to promote it. “Basically the problem with mutton is that it is considered old, tough and fatty.”
Instead, the MLC will be aiming its campaign at a younger market, and is keen to further develop the Quick Lamb theme aimed at making lamb more convenient and attractive.
However, as far as the development of mutton was concerned, the MLC would address any issues brought up at Thursdays meeting as required, said the spokesman.
Plans have also been given the go-ahead to boost exports and to stimulate demand for British lamb at home with a major TV advertising and supermarket promotion scheme.
In the export market, the MLC plans to target countries such as Belgium, which bought 5000 tonnes this year, as well as the Netherlands which has only bought 51 tonnes so far in 1999. North African countries will also be seen as potential customers.
Next month will also see the start of a £1.7 million campaign involving TV advertising, and promotions with retailers in Britain.
Don Curry, MLC chairman, said sheep farmers were seeing very little return if any for their hard work and effort.
“Consumers quite rightly expect the quality of their lamb to be maintained, and farmers are determined to meet the requirements of the marketplace.
“But it is vital not only for their individual businesses, but for the economic health of rural areas, that they see much better returns as quickly as possible,” he added.