New Zealand’s red meat exporters are fully supportive of Beef + Lamb NZ Ltd (B+LNZ)’s new ‘Taste Pure Nature’ origin brand and Red Meat Story, that will provide a marketing umbrella for their own beef and lamb sales in markets around the globe.
Members of the Meat Industry Association (MIA) Council have given their full support to the work done so far, including the origin brand.
“We are looking forward to continuing to work with B+LNZ to finalise the implementation plan,” MIA chairman John Loughlin reports.
Council member, Greenlea Premier Meats’ managing director Tony Egan, is excited to see meat companies collaborating to collectively market New Zealand beef and lamb in key export markets.
“The potential to add value by promoting our origin story more prominently in market is quite simply a win-win for New Zealand farmers and processers,” he says.
“We are seeing other countries, such as Australia and Ireland, move aggressively into our space as a provider of clean, green, sustainably-produced food products. We need to act swiftly and decisively to protect our story.”
MIA Council colleague, Alliance Group chief executive David Surveyor, also welcomes the initiative, which, he says, will support the growth of the entire red meat sector.
“It’s also an example of the entire industry, B+LNZ, MIA, farmers, processors and Government coming together.
“New Zealand’s Red Meat Story highlights who we are and what we do from farm to consumer. We need to protect our natural food production systems and ensure consumers globally recognise New Zealand farmers are in the natural food business,” he says.
Also supportive of the new origin brand is ANZCO, but its general manager sales and marketing Rick Walker says more work is required to maximise its benefit to the industry.
“’Taste Pure Nature’ offers ANZCO a great opportunity to facilitate our entry into new and emerging markets by building consumer understanding and awareness about New Zealand beef and lamb products and their inherent point of difference from our global competitors,” he says.
The foundation of the New Zealand story is not as well understood in some markets as might be expected, including in the US and China, which are being targeted by B+LNZ for the initial launch, he notes.
“By building that foundation, ANZCO can focus its branding efforts on the attributes and stories of our specific products, which go beyond the concept of origin,” Walker says.
Despite the great progress made on this initiative, ANZCO says B+LNZ still needs to work with the individual companies on how the ‘Taste Pure Nature’ brand will be activated, to ensure New Zealand farmers and processors can get the maximum benefit from this investment.
Launch gone down well
Looking considerably more relaxed than he was before the launch, B+LNZ general manager marketing Nick Beeby says the launch of the new origin brand at the start of this month has also gone down “really well” with farmers and the New Zealand public. Praise has been coming in from markets like Australia and Scotland too, together with a “fair amount of interest” via other channels.
“It’s been a lot of work for the team,” he says, referring to the very thorough process followed by Michael Wan, B+LNZ’s global manager for the NZ red meat story, and Gareth Williams, the organisation’s market insight and intelligence manager and the rest of the team. Its guiding philosophy was to put customers and consumers first in the collective industry-good initiative.
“Putting customers forefront, having meat companies involved from the very start and building considerable evidence along the way made getting exporters’ approval much easier,” he says.
Moving the conversation to chief executive level was also necessary. Beeby and B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor attended a number of MIA Council meetings at which the companies were shown the evidence that had built up on the way, which provided the direction of travel. Ultimately, this led to unanimous approval of the proposed approach.
The B+LNZ team has appreciated the invaluable input that has come from the meat companies’ marketing teams, many of which have new personnel, which Beeby says will need to continue into the future as well.
This is where the next stage of work starts with those individual companies to start to roll out the brand world-wide.
Starting work with companies to roll it out
The ‘Taste Pure Natural’ Origin Brand is owned wholly by Beef + Lamb NZ, which will license its use to exporters only for use on approved farm assurance programme product and the payment of a nominal licence fee, Beeby explains.
Licensing conversations have already started with many of the companies. A strict condition of becoming a licence holder, is that meat companies must either be registered with the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme (NZFAP) or to the ISO/IEC 17065 accredited Farm Assurance Programme, which is independently audited. This means Alliance Group, which is not a NZFAP participant, but is ISO/IEC 17065 accredited, will be able to use the branding alongside its own.
A high-level action plan has been agreed, with “everyone putting their hands up”, says Beeby, to be included in B+LNZ’s two origin brand pilot programmes for the US and China.
Beeby and Wan are heading off to the US in July to work with importers and distributors on an implementation plan for launch “before the end of this calendar year”. Activity in China will follow later.
Licensed meat companies will also be able to layer the brand assets with their own in their other markets, be able to sub-license it in most markets and have access to the invaluable consumer insights work. The brand is expected to start appearing on packaging, in advertising and other material by the end of the year.
As licensing body, the B+LNZ will manage and guard against the brand’s mis-use, noting Australian experience suggests sub-licensees in some Asian markets will need to be controlled directly.
“What we wanted to do is create an umbrella for exporters to work under, based under the universal truths of a unique place (New Zealand), our unique approach to farming (free-range) and that these combine to create a unique natural eating experience,” says Beeby, adding its unique selling point will be when there are a number of other brand propositions layered under it.
“No other country does that.
“Customers are looking for choice and variety, if we can show the world we can provide that, that puts our legitimacy right up there,” he says.
The initiative is exactly aligned with the Alliance story of grass-fed natural red meat produced, “by the world’s best farmers,” says Surveyor.
“We are now exploring options of how we can utilise the origin brand and Red Meat Story with a view to using it as a New Zealand platform for building forward the unique Alliance Group story and brands.
“This is one of the great things about the Red Meat Story. B+LNZ deliberately designed it as a platform we can all get behind but use as a springboard for our own unique customer propositions.”
The ‘Taste Pure Natural’ Origin Brand is supported with B+LNZ’s release of two other major reports: one on alternative proteins in March and the other an Environmental Strategy. These add other layers, supporting the brand in terms of credibility, says Beeby.
“Farming has an environmental impact which we can’t shy away from. These recognise that and that the sector will work hard to reduce/mitigate emissions. It’s all about social license to operate.”
The next steps for Beeby, Wan and and the rest of the team are to “engage hard” and keep on moving, he says.
“Success will come with implementation.”