New Zealand’s red meat sector story, its farming and its farmers, will be at the heart of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ)’s new market development strategy targeting new and emerging markets.
B+LNZ chairman James Parsons says development of a red meat sector story, which captures the culture, values and integrity that’s long been associated with New Zealand sheep and beef farmers, will be an angle the organisation aims to exploit in differentiating this country from its competitors in the international marketplace.
He says the story, building on New Zealand’s farming systems with free-range, grass-fed livestock – farmed to the highest standards of animal welfare – will be authenticated through a national quality assurance (QA) programme, developed through the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP). This programme harmonises existing meat company QA programmes.
Parsons says the New Zealand red meat sector story and national assurance programme will support meat companies’ own individual marketing strategies and will be a valuable resource for other partners like meat importers, distributors, retailers and food service operators – and government agencies.
This marketing strategy marks a change in direction for B+LNZ’s market development programme.
The farmer-funded organisation has worked collaboratively with the red meat sector to develop a long-term sector strategy with clearly defined roles for B+LNZ, meat exporters and marketers and industry stakeholders.
“B+LNZ will transition out of a market maintenance role in mature markets to focus on developing future growth opportunities, while meat companies will continue their efforts to maintain existing markets,” Parsons says.
Under the new direction B+LNZ will be closing permanent offices in the United Kingdom, South Korea and Japan in favour of more flexible resources based in New Zealand. B+LNZ will continue to have a base in China and the organisation will still maintain its own strong, international network and continue to work internationally with partner organisations including meat companies, Meat Industry Association, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
“This strategy does not affect the B+LNZ office in Brussels where the focus on maintaining trade access arrangements and international relationships with our counterpart organisations in Europe is more important than ever,” says Parsons.
“Our established markets are still vitally important, however responsibility for servicing and maintaining these markets will be managed primarily through our meat exporters using New Zealand red meat story collateral developed by B+LNZ. The sector agreed that our exporters have deep commercial relationships developed over many years and are well placed to look after the market maintenance role,” he says.
According to Parsons, the review involved intensive engagement with beef and sheep farmers to ensure their interests remain at the heart of the new approach.
“We consulted widely over 12 months, running numerous focus groups and workshops and the result is quite a fundamental shift in approach, strongly supported by meat exporters and farmers. We are confident the new approach will drive greater impact for farmers on every levy dollar invested. While New Zealand’s beef and lamb products are well positioned in consumers’ minds, farmgate returns are still not satisfactory and an area we can influence is how we better position our products in consumers’ minds.”