Industry blows hot and cold on funding changes
Published:  26 November, 2010

It's good to see the almost universal acceptance from industry that red meat body Eblex is doing a good job to promote the sector. That has not always been the view between business and the promotional bodies of the past!

But to be fair, considering the budgets Eblex has to play with, it is doing a good job. All in all, the organisation has a paltry 4.5m to use on marketing and, let's face it, that's a drop in the ocean when you compare it to the budgets of some of the big players in the FMCG area. In fact, I'm not entirely sure that the beef and lamb fighting fund would even cover the annual biscuit budget for Coca-Cola, so hats off to the team at Eblex for wringing the best out of every single penny.

As a result, it would be hard to begrudge them an extra bit of cash to help boost their work in fact when you consider changes to industry, and inflation, the 18% 2m rise really only puts them back to where they were in 2001, the last time the levy rose.

While we're on the subject of cash, and industry acceptance, it's no great surprise to see the Food Standards Agency (FSA) launch its consultation on meat charging, with the intention of pushing through a move to full cost recovery on meat inspection. Clearly this has also united industry, but in opposition.

Unfortunately for the sector, the political winds are blowing in the favour of the FSA and it is unlikely to see that changing. Government is looking to cut costs across the board, and full cost recovery is just one of the ways in which they can save a bit of taxpayer cash.

As such, the industry has to seriously consider its position on the issue before giving any input to the FSA's consultation.

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