Beef+Lamb NZ is about to launch a new comprehensive strategy that includes building credibility for our red meat with consumers in competition with other forms of protein

Beef+Lamb NZ is about to launch a new comprehensive strategy that includes building credibility for our red meat with consumers in competition with other forms of protein

By Allan Barber*

There has been a great deal of progress towards the development of the New Zealand Red Meat Story, but most of it has been happening under the radar.

That is all about to change.

B+LNZ is holding a workshop on 1st and 2nd March at which a wide group of industry participants – farmers, government, processors and exporters – will gather to start formulating the detail of the story, assisted by a strong line-up of guest speakers with international experience in brand development.

Over the last 18 months B+LNZ has focused on implementing its market development action plan arising from extensive consultation with levy payers. The most obvious change was to close marketing offices in mature markets like the UK, Japan and Korea where exporters already have much deeper relationships with customers and feedback from farmers and exporters suggested funds could be better spent in other ways and in developing markets with greater potential.

The change in focus has resulted in the creation of three new roles: one with responsibility for the development and implementation of the Red Meat Story, a market research specialist to focus on consumer insights and a market innovation specialist charged with capturing new market benefits. Detailed research has been gathered through interviews with farmers of different ages, farm types and ownership structures throughout the country about their story, as well as with selected worldwide customers to find out why they buy New Zealand beef and lamb.

According to Nick Beeby, B+LNZ’s GM of market Development, who has overall coordination accountability for the programme, the Red Meat Story is about more than growing New Zealand’s share of global consumption, but also about building credibility for our red meat with consumers in competition with other forms of protein.

Therefore it is crucial to ensure the story’s building blocks are all in place which is where the work of the Red Meat Profit Partnership comes into play.

The development of the NZ Farm Assurance Programme (FAP) is progressing well, with ANZCO, Alliance, Silver Fern Farms, the Progressive group of companies and DINZ all committed to adopting the same baseline standards, while discussions with AFFCO are also in hand. At this point ANZCO has begun rolling out the FAP and a further six processors will have done so by the end of March and another before the end of May. Meat companies supplying certain retailers or food manufacturers already have their own FAPs in place, but the establishment of a common New Zealand standard programme across the whole industry will enhance the credibility of the New Zealand red meat brand with international customers. It will then be possible to lift the standard to meet customer demands.

Another important step is MPI’s authorisation for RMPP to work with OSPRI on developing an electronic animal status declaration process which would ultimately help to overcome the loopholes in the NAIT system. A trial is about to be conducted at SFF Finegand to establish how successfully the EASD will replace the current less than perfect manual ASD. Once the robustness of the farmer to processor transaction has been tested, attention will turn to farmer to saleyard and farmer to farmer transactions. Traceability is an essential component, because it is a mandatory building block without which a credible red meat story has no firm foundation.

Another important element of the red meat story, particularly for the EU in the event of the anticipated FTA negotiations, will be how New Zealand addresses the question of protected geographical indication (PGI) for which a series of environmental, animal welfare and production standards will be necessary.

All the brand image building in the world backed by spurious claims to be clean and green or 100% pure will count for very little, unless these claims can be backed up by a robust farm assurance programme, underpinned by electronic ASDs and a cast iron traceability system for all red meat. If this is to be achieved, the industry must grasp the nettle or, mixing metaphors, address the elephant in the room – when deer and beef are comprehensively covered by electronic traceability and the red meat sector subscribes to a uniform FAP, sheep must surely be brought into the traceability system. The inclusion of sheep traceability is also likely to form a necessary part of any PGI application.

The cost to farmers of introducing sheep traceability is an issue the government will have to confront full on if the Red Meat Story is to achieve its prime objective of gaining consumer trust in the New Zealand brand.

There are also encouraging signs the long hoped for mirage of industry cooperation for the national good may be getting closer.


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*Allan Barber is a commentator on agribusiness, especially the meat industry, and lives in the Matakana Wine Country. He is chairman of the Warkworth A&P Show Committee. You can contact him by email at allan@barberstrategic.co.nz or read his blog here ». A version of this article was first published in Farmers Weekly. It is here with permission.

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7 Comments

Hard to take seriously when so many ram lambs are kept late and then sent to the UK for the Xmas market, I haven't met a farmer yet, who would kill one for his house.

What you are doing here is reinforcing failed ideology. If it was possible fix the problem with existing structures it would have already happened.

These regulations are having the opposite effect, they are driving smaller farmers and family farms out , buried under an avalanche of paper work and benefiting larger corporate types.

The realty is that the EU doesn't need our lamb and doesn't really want it. I suggest we go into reverse, lift all restrictions, get rid of NAIT, let farmers sell raw milk, sell meat from the farm, as long as animals and waste are handled well, allow cheese to be made on farm or in a garage. We need a revolution more like the one in the micro brewery market, than trying to change existing large corporate controlled monoliths, who have been proven unable to meet changing market expectations and who fully intend to take the ship down with them.

These existing structures will not be the ones leading the way to any kind of future, we need small farmers suppling top quality product to local buyers first and then branching out to other markets, local sales need to be the petrie dish from which we spring forth to world markets, not a restricted bureaucratic hell hole.

Budweiser sales are back %40 over the last decade and they don't have a tool in the box to fix the problem.

If you sell what people love to eat they will come.

"These regulations are having the opposite effect, they are driving smaller farmers and family farms out , buried under an avalanche of paper work and benefiting larger corporate types"

Andrew, you possibly misunderstand the agenda. These regulations are designed to drive small farmers and families out. Its not something that's happening accidentally.

I'll give you an example. Recently I had two Wellington Head Office DOC management people in my house one night. One of them was ex-MPI. We were discussing fisheries and I commented how the same thing has already occurred, small operators driven out. They both agreed but said yes, from a Govt management / paperwork point of view it was better for them that way. In fisheries they only wanted a handful of large operators. They said it was so much easier for them from a compliance point of view.

So their decisions weren't made in the interests of how much revenue the industry could generate, nor were they assisting the industry on the best way forward based on industry needs.
No, their decisions were based on what made their life and job easier in Wellington and then they advise their seniors accordingly.
To make matters worse, one of them is a foreigner on a work visa who having directed our country in a direction that she thinks is appropriate for a few years, will return home.

Apply to the red meat sector.

"I'll give you an example. Recently I had two Wellington Head Office DOC management people in my house one night. One of them was ex-MPI. We were discussing fisheries and I commented how the same thing has already occurred, small operators driven out. They both agreed but said yes, from a Govt management / paperwork point of view it was better for them that way. In fisheries they only wanted a handful of large operators. They said it was so much easier for them from a compliance point of view." That conclusion had been arrived at years ago, decades even, it is the case where compliance costs are much the same for the small operator as they are for the large.
Take the woman in Eketahuna milking 7 cows and making cheese from the milk, able to provide herself with a living, but likely to be priced out by compliance costs. It seems to me, that with the will, we can sort this so that these costs are pro rata-ed and the small can thrive along with the large. The small thriving is the answer to our current woes, by the way.

Now I'm really going to shock you. In our small rural town when I was growing up in the 70's, there were two chemical spray trucks that we used for thistles and spraying our peas. I talked with a friend yesterday and we got to about 12 trucks off the top of our heads, and thought there would be at least 3 of 4 more than that, and the news ones are bigger and more efficient.

We are adding chemicals to our environment at a record rate, we are becoming part of a giant lab experiment on humanity. Even worse, of a lot of these are systemic sprays, we are eating in our food. I farm and have a vineyard, I see the abuse of sprays all the time.

I talked to a spray rep two years ago who told me he no longer lets his children eat potatoes, after watching growers applying 27 sprays in one season.

So today we have in the UK the alarming situation where breast cancer is affecting one in eight women. So whats changed? it's looking more and more environmental, look at the growth in Autism rates

http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/mph-modules/ph/autism/AutismDiagnosis.PNG

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According to study organizers, the number of young women in the U.S. with metastatic cancer has risen a little more than 2% each year. Roughly 7 % of all women with breast cancer in the U.S. are under the age of 40 and breast cancer accounts for almost half of all cancers for women within this age group.

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if you want to see a market opportunity of a lifetime staring you in the face, there it is, we are catching and not just inheriting these diseases. As farmers we have a responsibility to mankind to grow clean healthy foods and we are failing under the onslaught of the corporatocracy, protected at the highest levels

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Many of the conditions that seem to run in families, such as cancer, depression, intelligence, asthma, athletic prowess, height, addiction, happiness, autism, hypertension, musical talent, body weight, childhood aggression, longevity, altruism, heart disease, and schizophrenia, are part heredity and part environment."

You think thats bad
Are you aware of the NZ process called the blast freezer?
If running badly it may turn out lamb that was reasonable, if running well it turned out lamb that was tough to say the least.
Did,nt matter, send it to the UK anyway, no one tested the meat for its eating qualities, it was frozen.

some seem to think that consumers still have trust in government regulations protecting them.