IFA President Eddie Downey has said the opening of the US market creates a unique branding opportunity for Irish beef, based on Ireland’s grass-based Quality Assured production model. He said this is a real opportunity for the Irish beef sector to secure a premium price and position in the market. Eddie Downey called on Minister Coveney, Bord Bia and the meat processors to pursue a strategy that delivers a worthwhile price premium back to farmers.
Eddie Downey said through the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme, Irish beef farmers have shown both the ability and leadership to develop initiatives to measure and demonstrate the quality and sustainability of Irish beef production. “This initiative is key to prove in a transparent way that Irish beef production is unique, and is operating to higher quality, environmental and sustainability standards than our competitors.”
The IFA President said the major challenge remains to generate better economic returns and a price premium for all stakeholders in the supply chain, including farmers, in return for improvements in quality, environmental and sustainability standards. He said “The time has come to capture and deliver this through the development of a strong brand for Irish beef”.
He said marketing agencies and processors must develop innovative strategies to get the message across to consumers on the top quality and provenance of Irish food.
Eddie Downey said a good example of how this operates in other countries is the successful marketing of Scottish beef and lamb as a high value product. He said Scottish beef consistently trades at a significant premium to other beef in the market.
He said the development of a strong Irish beef brand has multiple advantages. All stakeholders including farmers benefit from improved prices. Processors and distributors benefit from a coordinated approach through greater overall market penetration which will drive production. Retailers benefit by meeting the growing demand for an identifiably differentiated product, which allows for market segmentation.