Lockdown lamb and beef marketing hits million mark

The UK's three levy boards have highlighted the success of their lockdown red meat campaigns
The UK's three levy boards have highlighted the success of their lockdown red meat campaigns

Levy boards' promotional campaign for British red meat launched after the lockdown disrupted the food and farming sector has reached millions of people.

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) and AHDB joined forces to lead a campaign to spur on demand for red meat.

Important outlets for premium meats such as hotels and restaurants were closed in March as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

The coronavirus lockdown also led the public to panic-buy cheaper products such as mince.

The two factors meant that a major consumer campaign was needed to persuade consumers to cook more adventurous meals at home.

The three levy boards mounted the £1.2m ‘Make It’ campaign to generate awareness for high quality British red meat.

Eight weeks of a digital campaign generated over 187 million opportunities for consumers to see beef recipe inspiration.

In Wales, HCC enlisted a ‘culinary dozen’ of the most famous Welsh chefs to produce social media videos to inspire home cooks.

It also invested heavily in advertising on commercial radio, as well as press and online adverts and associated consumer competitions to promote the purchase of steaks and roasting joints.

Newly-released analysis of the campaign’s impact shows that the 916 advertising slots over commercial radio reached 1,013,067 hits.

The social media reach of cooking videos filmed at home by top chefs such as Bryn Williams, Hywel Griffith and Gareth Ward has totalled 1,121,830 so far.

According to HCC Brand Marketing Executive Philippa Gill, the campaigns have seen tangible results in terms of increased sales.

“We started our Welsh lamb and Welsh beef campaign in March, when the markets were very unstable following the loss of important foodservice outlets, to inspire consumers to purchase more premium cuts.

"By May, total sales of beef steaks were running at 40% above the previous year, and independent butchers were seeing nearly 50% more custom for beef and were selling 25% more lamb.”

She explained that the key to both the Welsh and wider GB marketing campaigns was understanding how people’s habits had changed during lockdown.

“Within a month of the lockdown, people were spending much more time online – almost a quarter of their waking hours on average – so promoting recipes from our star chefs over Instagram and Facebook was crucial for us,” she said.

“Consumers have responded very positively – many have come back to buying fresh beef and lamb as a sustainable, traceable and nutritious food produced by trusted farmers.”

Ms Gill added: “We’ve also had great support from Welsh celebrities who got involved with our online steak sandwich competition, and from processors and retailers right across Britain in helping with promotions, linking in with UK Barbecue Week at the start of the summer.”

The three levy boards are again co-ordinating with a broader GB-wide lamb initiative from 1 August.