FARMERS are getting better at telling the story about the food they produce, according to new research from AHDB.
Its survey found that 53% of people reckoned that farmers were improving their communication skills – and AHDB must have faith in that result, as it has enlisted the help of 100 farmers to help promote and share its ‘We Eat Balanced’ messaging on social media during the first part of the £3.5m campaign starting this autumn.
Throughout September and the first half of October, these farmers will be highlighting the benefits of beef, pork, lamb and milk, which contain vitamin B12, an essential nutrient not naturally present in plant-based foods.
They will also be sharing information about the world-class food, farming and sustainability standards of UK meat and dairy production.
In the run up to COP 26, AHDB noted that ongoing international trade negotiations had raised a wider debate around food import standards, prompting this renewed campaign to highlight the positive story of farming in Britain in the form of short videos to ‘cut through the noise’ on social media.
The autumn phase of the campaign will be followed up in January with a new TV advert and supporting social media campaign.
AHDB’s head of marketing, Liam Byrne, said: “The pilot We Eat Balanced campaign which ran in January this year showed consumers were receptive to messages reminding them of the role beef, lamb, pork and dairy can play in a balanced diet.
“It also positively shifted consumer attitudes towards the health benefits of meat (6%) and dairy (9%), while increasing the likeliness of customers purchasing those products by 11% and respectively.
“We also know that consumer trust in farmers and their role in food production remains robust and our campaign is now building on that with a focus on producers sharing their stories about how they farm and their role in maintaining our landscape and environment.”
The new AHDB research also found that seven out of ten consumers say they trust farmers when it comes to the UK’s food system – making them the most trusted group in the supply chain.
Staffordshire AHDB dairy farmer Liz Haines welcomed the return of the campaign, saying that it was important to challenge misinformation seen in the press and on social media.
She said: “Seeing campaigns like We Eat Balanced gives people the reassurance they can make healthy and sustainable choices when they choose to eat meat and dairy and that is a really important message for the future of British farming.”
AHDB Monitor pig farmer Fergus Howie agreed that farmers needed the chance to put the record straight: “During the past five years, I have witnessed myself how the media landscape has radically changed. Social media has a power I am not sure many of us could have predicted, where opinions, instead of facts, are widely reported and perpetuated.”