New Zealand producers near agreement on marketing strategy
Chairman James Parsons said the organisation had been working closely with processors and exporters over the past couple of years to agree on a way of best marketing New Zealand meat and focusing on its provenance.
“We’re at a point now where there is more agreement than not to collaborate and create a new jointly funded and governed marketing entity to promote our red meat products at home and internationally,” he said.
“As an industry we under-invest in marketing our sheep meat and beef products compared to competing exporting countries, and farmers and meat processors agree there needs to be an ‘all of industry’ response.”
Parsons said farmers were excited about a collaborative market development model, and recent studies from market research company UMR backed that up with 81% saying beef and lamb promotion needed to happen in international markets.
Not all parties are quite so enthusiastic about the plans, however. “The current model is not returning the money to farmers as the processor/exporters are the gate keepers,” said John McCarthy, chairman of Meat Industry Excellence. “Accordingly, I would be sceptical about putting farmer monies into a generic marketing approach at least until there was a tangible demonstration as to how that investment would transfer directly back to farmer purses.”
He added that B+LNZ were “struggling for relevance” in the face of falling farmer incomes and dwindling supply. “They are desperate to retain farmer confidence in their activities; to me it smacks of the principle of self-perpetuating bureaucracy. Until now they have been an industry good body focused on activity behind the farm gate, but the ongoing collaboration with the processors and exporter bodies is akin to inviting the fox into the coop.”