Pork Could be Given Major Marketplace Make-over, Says Association

UK - Increasingly, as more free-trade pacts with the rest of the world are put in place, European Union pig producers can expect to find their domestic markets challenged by third country imports, particularly from Canada and the States.
calendar icon 16 December 2013
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According to the National Pig Association (NPA), domestic consumption in the United Kingdom is already under pressure from changing consumer trends, with the amount of traditional joints and chops bought by shoppers falling over the last four decades (see chart).

Source: NPA

But depending on this week's Agriculture Council meeting in Brussels, pig producers may in the future be able to pull down funding to grow the whole market for European pig meat, by spotlighting the high welfare and environmental standards of European pig production.

At this week's meeting, the European Commission will brief agriculture ministers on its plans for encouraging producers to promote their products in the European Union and third countries.

Ministers will be reminded that agricultural and agri-food products are a major European Union asset and it is crucial that the industry maintains and increases its competitiveness and its market share, in both internal and export markets.

"European agriculture is faced today with a much more competitive environment, largely resulting from the globalisation of markets, and this trend should continue in the coming years," the Commission will say.

It will point to the fact that existing marketing tools such as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) are generally not recognised by consumers.

And it will point out that the agriculture and agri-food sector is made up mainly of small-to-medium-size enterprises, which do not have big marketing budgets, especially when it comes to promoting products in distant markets.

"This calls for a renewed policy of promotion, one which learns from the lessons of the promotional programmes implemented to date and which represents an additional stage in the modernisation of the Common Agricultural Policy," ministers will be told.

The Commission's proposals for growing the market for food from European Union farms includes the following:

  • A gradual but significant increase in the European Union budget allocated to information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products from £50m this year to £168m in 2020.

  • Programmes will be encouraged from operators in different member countries to promote the diversity of European agricultural products.

  • Guidelines will be established on mentioning the origin of products or even brand names, as a means of illustrating a main generic message that highlights the intrinsic characteristics of European agricultural products.

  • The proposal includes the development of new technical support which would help organisations put together and manage multi-country programmes.

  • And as CAP reform encourages farmers to organise themselves, the scheme will be opened up to new beneficiaries, such as producer organisations.
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