UK levy bodies to join forces to promote red meat

The UK’s meat levy boards have committed to providing an additional £1.5 million in funding to jointly promote the reputation of meat and its role in the diet.

A larger pot of £3.5 million has been committed to ring-fenced fund work between levy boards in England, Scotland and Wales in the coming year.

For the last two years, AHDB, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) have jointly decided on a collaborative programme of activities to support the British meat industry, including jointly promoting British meat overseas and work to underpin the nutritional benefits of red meat.

From April 1, 2020, the size of the overall fund will increase from £2 million to £3.5 million, with the additional investment focused particularly on bolstering the reputation of meat with consumers, addressing misconceptions and promoting the benefits of sustainable meat consumption.

A joint statement from the three levy boards said: “The current ring-fenced fund has been a fantastic opportunity for us to work more closely together to further the interests of the British meat sector.

“While this remains an interim step before redistribution of levies takes place, we believe the time is right to strengthen this collaboration and increase the overall investment made in the joint fund for the next 12 months.

The industry is under tremendous pressure and we feel we can make even bigger progress on market development and export work, to find new markets for our products overseas, and the ongoing reputation work to promote all that is good and defend the industry from myths and misinformation.

The three organisations are working closely with governments in Scotland, Wales and England to agree on a fair approach to redistribution of levies, following the adoption of the Agriculture Bill later this year.

The current interim arrangement and increase in value of the ring-fenced fund is seen as a precursor to further collaboration between the three levy boards once levies are redistributed.

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said: “It’s never been more important that every part of the industry collaborates to ensure that our fantastic story on sustainable, climate-friendly meat production is heard by all.

Our reputation for producing beef, lamb and pork to the highest standards is both fully justified and hard-won.

“Collaboration between meat promotion bodies in Great Britain in 2019 and 2020 has sent out a united, strengthened message on behalf of levy payers.

“Using the additional funding announced today to bolster the reputation of meat with consumers, addressing the misconceptions being perpetuated by some and promoting the many benefits of sustainable meat consumption in the diet will be well received by Scottish livestock producers.”