Beef and lamb industry preps reassurance campaign

The British beef and lamb industry is preparing an ad campaign to encourage shoppers to buy British in the wake of the horse meat scandal.

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EBLEX, the organisation for the beef and lamb industry and its pork industry equivalent BPEX, will run ads in national papers this weekend to highlight the traceability and provenance of fresh beef, lamb, pork and bacon bearing the Red Tractor and Quality Standard Mark (QSM).

News of the ads, which break tomorrow (16 February), follow the first stage of the Food Standards Agency’s testing of all processed beef products. Tests found no further cases of horse meat contamination, with all supermarkets claiming the products tested were cleared. A recent Kantar poll, however, revealed 20 per cent of consumers plan to buy more fresh meat and 13 per cent would buy more locally sourced meat in light of the horse meat revelations.

Jane Ritchie-Smith, head of consumer marketing for EBLEX, says: “Our advertising campaign reiterates [that trust in fresh meat is still strong] by looking for the Red Tractor and QSM assurance marks on packs of fresh beef, lamb, pork and bacon, consumers can rest assured that what they are buying is fully traceable.

“Provenance of products is important for our consumers and independent auditing, which is already a key requirement of both the Red Tractor and QSM assurance schemes, will be central to ensuring consumer confidence.”

The British Retail Consortium, which represents retailers and supermarkets says it is relying on media messages to make sure its reassurance message gets out to consumers, while individual member retailers may chose to take action through advertising.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson says: “Our members take their responsibilities to customers very seriously.  We have taken decisive, extensive action to deal with incidents since mid-January and worked round the clock to gather meaningful data quickly. [These tests] show that retailers operate to high standards and customers are right to have confidence in them and what they sell.  

“The only people who really matter are consumers and they need to know that we are thinking about long term, effective solutions to the issues that have come to light. That’s exactly what we are doing.”

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