10 January 2000
Organic success based on branding
by Alistair Driver
A NEW venture will use strong branding and combined production
expertise to try and make up the shortfall in British organic pigmeat
Wiltshire-based Eastbrook Farms Organic Meat and Suffolk-based
British Quality Pork (BQP) launched the initiative on Monday (10
Long-term contracts will now be offered to new farmers prepared to
change their conventional production systems and supply organic
The 50:50 joint venture will target supermarkets with a brand it
hopes consumers will come to associate with consistent quality and
Eastbrook Farm organic pigmeat is already sold to retailers from
founder Helen Brownings 120-sow unit on her 1,337 acre farm.
Mrs Browning believes that working with BQP will enable farmers to
reduce production costs without compromising organic standards.
For BQP, a division of Associated British Nutrition, the joint
venture offers the benefits of the already established Erastbrook
Mrs Browning said that organic production could be rewarding.
Currently all Eastbrook suppliers are making money, she said.
But going organic requires a huge restructuring of the business and
is not an easy way out of the current crisis in the pig sector, she
Conversion of land to organic status can take two or three years.
Different management techniques are required ands organic production
Organic feed alone is often three times more expensive than
conventional feed. Total organic production costs are often 250 per