HCC acts to counter falling lamb prices

Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is to make an early start on marketing campaigns in an effort to tackle falling lamb prices.

To help support the industry, HCC is to launch a series of marketing initiatives much earlier in the year than usual to stimulate demand among consumers, highlighting the quality of Welsh Lamb. The campaign will include TV and billboard advertising and digital marketing.

HCC is also in talks with the major supermarket chains to discuss the availability of Welsh Lamb in their stores, following claims that some have been favouring imported meat over home-grown produce. The package of marketing initiatives will run from July into the autumn.

“The 2015 Welsh Lamb campaign will roll out in two stages,” said HCC’s Market Development Manager Laura Pickup. “The summer campaign will start in July with a range of initiatives followed seamlessly by our autumn campaign which will further promote the brand into November.

“This is in addition to our year-round awareness campaign highlighting the provenance and quality of Welsh Lamb.”

The campaign includes:

  • A summer promotion focusing on the versatility of Welsh Lamb for barbecues, tying in with summer festivals and general outdoor eating;
  • Large posters strategically placed in 150 locations near major supermarkets in towns and cities across Britain;
  • Digital advertising targeted at specific audiences and geographical areas;
  • A new television advertisement;
  • On-pack promotions; including a competition offering a major prize;
  • An autumn promotion focussing on warmer recipes for longer nights;
  • Working with supermarkets and High Street independents to create more shelf space for Welsh Lamb.

“Taken together, this is a powerful promotional campaign which aims to increase consumer awareness - and therefore the purchasing - of high quality Welsh Lamb,” said Mrs Pickup. “It will involve a wide range of media including TV, digital and posters and also in supermarkets and independent butchers.”

According to latest figures, Welsh farmers are receiving between £25 and £30 less per lamb than a year ago due to a strong pound and increased red meat imports.

The UK produced more lamb between January and March of 2015 compared to the same period last year, while exports have fallen and imports increased. Imports of sheep meat for the first three months of 2015 were up by 12% on the previous year to 30,200 tonnes (t).

Imports from New Zealand also grew year-on-year. The country exported 23,600t to the UK during the first quarter of 2015, an increase over the previous year of 24%. This increase has been attributed to New Zealand’s season has extended well past its traditional period and has overlapped with the traditional Welsh Lamb season.

Gwyn Howells, HCC chief executive, said: “The dramatic fall in prices is a worrying development for the industry. It has been caused by a number of different factors combining to create a perfect storm for producers.”

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