Over the past 10 to 20 years UK farming has almost turned completely to commercial breeds and away from our traditional Native breeds. Although there are still exceptions to this, for example, Suffolk sheep and Aberdeen Angus Cattle. This has meant that there has been a large increase in our UK traditional breeds being moved onto the rare breed watch list. Although this is a case there is still a purpose for the majority of these breeds as they have been purpose-bred for their surroundings. With careful Agri marketing, these breeds can still have financial benefits.
With new environmental schemes coming into place breeds which in the past have seen decline have now seen a resurgence. For example, in Cumbria, the Herdwick breed of sheep has seen a bit of a comeback over the last few years as some breeders have chosen to use them in harsher conditions where commercial ewes have struggled.
With some producers turning back to these now rare breeds it is key that they are marketed correctly to ensure the consumer gets the story behind what they are purchasing. With the majority of these rare breeds producing higher quality end products. It needs to be shouted about!
At the end of the day, we buy food because of its taste and look. So, if the producer lets us know that it is slow matured, pasture-fed, native bred Dexter beef that’s been hung for 30 days rather than simply commercial British beef it will sell better. This is because it paints the picture to the consumer. And especially as the public is ever more interested in how their food is produced it is key to tell them exactly what it is. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing, it is so important. It could make the difference between getting paid base price at an abattoir to a premium price sold off-farm or in a local butcher.
This may sound easy but there are many fears from both the producer and consumer side when it comes to trying new things. First of all, with some rare breeds they don’t grow as quickly therefore Mutton and over 30-month-old cattle are the end product produced. To help the consumer recipe ideas need to be given and possibly even samples to give them the confidence in the quality of the products. This could be done through a marketing campaign based around new products and give that vital information that could turn the public into your customers. As said before, the more information given the better understanding the consumer has.
There have also been updates to the red tractor standards, tightening animal welfare regulations even more. This has meant that some farmers have turned back to more traditional outdoor rearing methods. This is where traditional British breeds are in their element. This is how they are bred to thrive and can outperform commercially bred breeds in some areas. This can especially be seen in pig production as with outdoor production you simply cannot use the hybrid breeds and breeds like the Duroc and Tamworth thriving in traditional outdoor production. This new update the Red Tractor standards could mean for a resurgence in British Native breeds.
On top of marketing the product. The best way to sell your products is to get them out there and take onboard any PR opportunity. Even if it’s going into the local school and letting the children taste what you produce and doing a talk on what exactly it all is. You are educating them for the future, and they could go back and tell their parents what they have learnt and could trigger a purchase. There are also always opportunities arising to talk to the press, it’s just keeping your eye out for when an opportunity arises.
So yes, we are going to be seeing more Traditional British meats on our plate but as a producer, it is key to get yourself out there and market you, your company and most of all your products. Thinking outside the box and anything innovative will help. Here at Flame Marketing, we are specialists in this area and can always be here to help! Don’t be afraid to get in touch. We also offer a FREE Initial consultation which can point you in the right direction.
If you are looking to take your rare breed farm to the next level check out our Firestarter package.