TV ad campaign comes at critical time for pork sector

Despite a host of underlying issues causing continued disruption, it is hoped that a new marketing campaign will help boost demand for the beleaguered pig sector.

Angela Christison
Angela Christison

Kicking off with three weeks of TV advertising, a full 30-second advert supported by a 10-second version will be broadcast on ITV, Channel 4 and Sky and aired during popular shows such as Coronation Street from now until the end of February.

Backed up by additional airings during food programmes the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) which is organising the campaign claims the advertising will reach over 50 per cent of UK adults approximately five times.

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AHDB sector director for Pork, Angela Christison said: “This campaign comes at a critical time for the pig sector, and we are acutely aware of the immense supply chain challenges that some of our levy payers continue to face.

“Whilst we cannot directly address these challenges, the aim of our consumer marketing activities is to build advocacy long-term with consumers and support the industry by encouraging a positive long-term attitude towards pork. Demonstrating pork’s versatility, taste, nutritional attributes, and value ensures it appeals to modern consumers and drives sales.”

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Christison said that was the campaign’s fifth year and adding that the previous years’ efforts had delivered over £37 million of incremental retail sales for the pork sector since 2017.

“By the end of 2021 pork was in 6.5 per cent volume growth versus pre-pandemic 2019 levels so we’re setting our sights on helping even more people make the switch to pork with our TV adverts,” she said.

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*However in Ireland where pig producers are facing a similar financial struggle, more direct action has been taken by the industry.”

Producers in the Emerald Isle took to Dublin city centre yesterday to demonstrate outside the main retailers in an effort to highlight the income crisis the sector was enduring and to secure its survival.

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Speaking from the event Roy Gallie of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) which organised the demonstration said that pig farmers were currently losing over €35 on every pig produced – a situation which he said was completely unsustainable: “Over the last 12 months, we have seen our margin completely disappear due to a combination of a massive increase in input costs, in particular feed, and falling output prices.”

He said that as a result, the average Irish pig farmer was currently losing about €10,000 a week.

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IFA President Tim Cullinan said: “We need all stakeholders, including retailers, Bord Bia, and our Minister to take immediate steps to stem the losses on pig farms.”

He added that Brexit and Covid-related issues had had a severe impact on the pig sector with the value of pigmeat exports to the United Kingdom collapsing while Covid had impacted on processing and supply chains, further exacerbating market issues.

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“Without a co-ordinated response from all the relevant stakeholders, the entire sector is in jeopardy,” he said.

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