Brands plan to make hay with farm links

Brands are increasingly turning to marketing messages that promote their links to British farming as an extension of sustainability strategies, according to experts.

McDonald’s, Tesco, Hovis, Warburtons and Carling are among the brands that have supported British farming within their own recent brand communications in a bid to reassure consumers.

The trend has emerged from a number of factors coming together, says Jess Bowers, project director at brand consultancy Sundance. These include environmental concerns, the trend towards more local produce and the reassurance message that a “British” label offers consumers.

Terry Jones, acting director of communications at the British Farming Union, says that as public perception of British farming has improved, brands now view their supply chain as something they can use in their marketing.

However, Bowers warns that simply jumping on the bandwagon is not good for brands that aren’t certain what message they want to promote through British farming.

Naomi Hawkins, business development manager at brand consultancy LFH, says: “British consumers like to buy locally and it’s a way to engage. It looks strange if a brand isn’t doing it.”

McDonald’s is promoting British farms through its Olympic 2012 sponsorship advertising, Tesco has launched an initiative to invite its dairy farmers into stores, while bread brands Warburtons and Hovis have committed to using 100% British wheat.

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