Lamb drive for France
A major drive is under way to restore the fortunes of the lamb market in France - the biggest overseas customer for UK lamb.
The French market has been in severe decline since 2001, showing a 27% decline in volume over that period. Now, EBLEX, Interbev (France) and Bord Bia (Eire) have launched a three-year campaign to halt and reverse that decline.
The three organisations will jointly fund the campaign, which has the enthusiastic support of the French, British and the Irish sheep meat industries.
The theme Agneau Presto was inspired by the Quick Lamb campaign, run by the Meat and Livestock Commission in Britain during the late 1990s.
The strategy is to recapture younger consumers, who have cut down the amount of lamb they eat. Using a new improved range of cuts linked to simple recipes, the campaign will show lamb can be eaten any day at any time.
EBLEX head of marketing Andrew Garvey said: "The campaign will feature a selection of alternative cuts that are easy and quick to prepare and cook and will be identified in-store with an Agneau Presto sticker.
"The recipes, created by a team of young Ambassadors of Agneau Presto, will form the basis of the campaign communication."
Media events will be organised throughout the year to help raise awareness of the initiative. This year alone, 60 selected restaurants will be involved in these events and, in addition, cookery lessons will be offered in four Parisian training kitchens.
A major element of the programme will be built around electronic communication as this media grows in popularity. It will have a vital role to play as, every week in France, 700,000 web downloads are recorded for recipes. To facilitate this initiative, an interactive website will be extensively used to spread the Agneau Presto message to French housewives.
The recipes will be clearly associated with modern lifestyles and meals such as TV dinners, feeding hungry children, catering for unexpected guests, quick meal solutions and French tête à tête.
EBLEX has contributed its expertise extensively in the preparation of this campaign, including running lamb-cutting demonstrations for French processors in England and in several French cutting plants.
"These demonstrations were essential in order to develop and present a coherent range of 'Agneau Presto' cuts that will progressively find their place on the shelves of meat retailers in France," said Garvey.
EBLEX has attracted the support of other UK red meat bodies, with financial support pledged from Hybu Cig Cymru, Quality Meat Scotland and the Livestock and Meat Commission (NI).
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