Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Quality Standard Mark takes centre stage in France

At the beginning of March, AHDB invited some key influencers from the agriculture industry to attend the Salon International d’Agriculture (SIA) to demonstrate the work we are doing in France. The international show is held in the centre of Paris over nine days and is the biggest agricultural event in Europe.

SIA is an important event in the diary of our French office, headed by export manager Rémi Fourrier, due to the number of people the show attracts and its importance as a meeting place. AHDB was the only overseas exhibitor present in the main livestock hall and it was at the stand that the group heard about the work Rémi and his team are doing in the French market. The stand itself was designed to look like a country pub and featured examples of Hereford and Angus cattle from the UK, as well as a meat display with lamb and beef cuts, a double video screen stand broadcasting lamb recipes and two interactive touch screens.



                                   AHDB stand at SIA

 The AHDB France office is located in Fontainebleau, near Paris and the team there carry out a range of activities to promote Quality Standard beef and lamb to French consumers and the retail and foodservice sectors. This includes organising trade advertising, events and demonstrations, providing information in supermarkets, managing field marketing activities and communicating with consumers through the website www.ilovemeat.fr and related Facebook page.

Securing access to new markets is a priority for AHDB Beef & Lamb, but defending markets that are already well-established is also crucial to maintain demand. France represents the single most important export market for UK lamb, taking over 50% of what we export. France is only 35% self-sufficient in lamb and UK imports represent 25% of the market. In 2015 the UK exported 42,700 tonnes of lamb to France, easily making us their largest supplier of sheep meat.

When it comes to beef exports, quantities are far more modest. In 2015, we exported 10,085 tonnes of beef to France. Confidence in the product declined after the 2007 foot and mouth disease outbreak, however significant inroads have been made since then, thanks in no small part to Rémi’s team, to rebuild that trust and enable us to gradually increase our exports.

Within France, the brands ‘agneau St George’ (St George Lamb) and ‘boeuf St George’ (St George Beef) are used to market UK beef and lamb. It was first rolled out for lamb products and has been instrumental part to AHDB’s success in the French market, as it helps differentiate the product and communicate messages to consumers about the taste and tenderness of farm assured lamb. Due to its success the brand was extended to include beef. The brand’s presence in French retailers is growing, supported by promotional activity in-store and it can also now be found in a limited number of French butchers.

All St George branded lamb features the Quality Standard Mark (QSM) on pack. In a survey last summer, consumers stated that the QSM was the most important part of the on-pack sticker, reflecting the recognition the mark has gained in the French market.

For more information on our French office and the valuable work that they do, visit our
website.