AHDB Outlook Conference highlights the importance of red meat market development
The importance of AHDB market development work in helping to add value to the red meat sector in difficult times was underlined at Tuesday’s AHDB Outlook Conference in Westminster.
Attendees heard from AHDB analysts how the current outlook for UK beef, lamb and pork prices is not likely to improve during 2016.
Delegates also heard from speaker Andrew McLay on the impact of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) on the livestock sector’s global competitiveness and from Professor Alan Matthews on the potential implications for the sector of UK membership, or not, of the EU.
Peter Kendall, AHDB chairman, highlighted the tough year all farming sectors had faced: “For some dairy farmers receiving up to half the price they were 18 months ago, the outlook is bleak. Pig producers are now seeing their prices drop and beef and sheep farmers have had to cope with strong exchange rates and increased supplies over the summer.
“Where AHDB can help is in seeking out new market development opportunities at home and abroad for our products, as well as helping farmers identify where they could make changes to their businesses to help manage the impact of the current economic climate.”
He pointed to AHDB Beef & Lamb’s development of the mini-roast as an example of how innovation in new cuts means beef and lamb is better able to fit modern lifestyles and help drive consumer demand.
Overseas market development is another area where AHDB Exports is adding value to the sector, with a focus on promoting cuts rather than carcases, and working on exports of fifth quarter. Last year saw 70% of fresh/chilled beef exports shipped as cuts, and strong growth in fifth quarter exports for beef and lamb to non-EU destinations.
Tuesday also saw the start of the latest £2.7million Pulled Pork promotion campaign, with TV advertising supported by PR, social media and in-store activity.
The first round of activity is timed to coincide with key celebratory events, including Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday and Easter, with the second scheduled to maximise interest in pork around the May Bank holidays, all of which are prime occasions for roasting joints and cuts.
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A full report on the AHDB Outlook Conference will be available in the March edition of Meat Management magazine.