Branding is the Key to Marketing

Branding will be the secret to the successful marketing of British beef and lamb onto the French Market, writes TheMeatSite senior editor Chris Harris.
calendar icon 30 October 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Speaking during the SIAL food exhibition in Paris, Rémi Fourrier, general manager of AHDB Meat Services in France said that strong branding was the way that quality English beef products would succeed on the French market and achieve good margins for producers and processors.

M. Fourrier said that British beef and lamb had been establishing itself on the French market but had been knocked back in 2007, when the UK industry was hit by foot and mouth disease.

"Everything started again in 2007," M. Fourrier said.

"We had to work intensively to establish a strong position for our beef."

He said that when the British products were selected on visual and taste tests, they had proved to be quality products and that England can produce the best beef.

One of the steps to establish British beef back onto the French market has been the establishment of the Rosbif Club. The club is a group of select and knowledgeable members of the industry - an exclusive dining society consisting of France's finest butchers, chefs, and food writers.

The group together with the publication of a booklet in which the French Chef, Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, demonstrated new cuts and adding value to cheaper cuts of British Beef, the English Beef and Lamb executing through the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board has been able to re-establish the name of British Beef.

The marketing plan shows the differences in British beef to the products commonly found in the French market.

The plan has targeted top French restaurants and it has been at pains to demonstrate how quality British beef comes from steers and heifers producing a more tender product.

The book demonstrating added value from cheaper cuts has been sent to chefs in France and the marketing campaign has been developing several different brands.

The British industry has already been attacking the French market in the lamb sector with the St George brand. Through the brand the industry has been able to establish a recognisable difference by identifying breeds and demonstrating specialism by having some of the largest specialist abattoirs for sheep meat in Europe.

"We know we have the experience and the knowledge and we have to get that message across to France," said M. Fourrier.

For lamb, the UK is the second largest supplier to France after the French domestic market.

He said that through their specialist branding attack, the UK industry is starting to educate young people about lamb and it is starting to attract more young people into eating lamb.

The Agneau Presto campaign is showing quick recipes for preparing meals using the product.

Having established the St George brand for lamb, the brand is now being extended for beef and beef is benefiting from the work already done to establish English lamb on the French market.

The promotional material includes front of pack branding together with the English quality mark together with special chill cabinets in supermarkets across France. There are also special in-store displays and demonstrations and at the check-outs of some supermarkets promotional films are being shown on plasma screens. The main stores being targeted are Carrefour, Intermarché and Auchan.

The beef promotion is taking place under specialist brands within the Boeuf St Georges campaign - Vintage Beef Select, Hereford Select, Cottage Beef Original as well as the Red Tractor Assurance for British products.

"Branding is the only way to get the products into the shops," said M. Fourrier, who says he sees France as just an extension of the British market.

He said the main aim of the branding is to establish and identity and then a loyalty to the British product.

However, M. Fourrier said he would like to see the UK industry - processors and producers become more committed to marketing, establishing and selling their product.

"I would like to see the operators get more committed," he said.

"If you get more committed, you get more loyalty."

November 2010
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