Multimillion-pound deal to promote dairy agreed

Dairy parlour© FLPA / John Eveson/REX /Shutterstock

A multimillion-pound campaign to promote and develop the market for UK dairy products has been agreed.

In a joint statement, issued on Thursday (17 March), AHDB Dairy and Dairy UK announced they had agreed a deal on promoting dairy.

Farmers’ representatives approved a dairy market development plan during a vote taken at an AHDB Dairy board meeting held on Wednesday 16 March.

See also: Farmers to vote on multimillion-pound promotion

The board agreed a total budget of up to £3.5m over the next three years for future activity.

This provisional budget represents an extra £1.8m in total over the three years compared with the draft market development budget, which went out for consultation.

During the board meeting, members also agreed to work with Dairy UK to establish a dairy marketing forum to explore opportunities for a co-funded European Union campaign, which would be subject to an application in the next EU funding window.

AHDB Dairy and Dairy UK hope the deal will also leverage further funding from the EU in what could become a dairy promotion campaign worth between £6m-£8m.

AHDB Dairy board chairman Gwyn Jones said: “This gives us a clear chance to develop market opportunities for the dairy industry.

“It must, however, be recognised it’s not the whole answer for the prevailing challenging market conditions the industry is facing.”

Opportunities for dairy

AHDB Dairy strategy director Amanda Ball said the levy board would also work with Dairy UK and its exporters group to highlight what AHDB currently does in other sectors and use that to identify opportunities for dairy.

“There is much to be done and we are already in preliminary discussions with Dairy UK,” she added.

Dairy UK, a trade association that represents the interests of producer co-ops, milk processors, dairy farmers and doorstep deliverymen, said it was vital the dairy industry educated UK consumers on the nutritional benefits of dairy and promoted the excellence of its dairy products in key exports markets.

David Dobbin, chairman of Dairy UK, said: “Developing demand for our quality dairy produce and focusing on being more market-led will be key to improve the state of the industry.”

Promoting dairy to younger generation

Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, added: “This is very positive news. Working together we have a unique opportunity to develop long-term, sustainable consumption in the domestic market as well as in international markets.

“The next steps will be making sure we develop the right offering to leverage EU funding. This is not a short-term fix, this is about a sustained focus on developing demand for dairy with current and future generations.”

Reacting to the decision, NFU deputy president Minette Batters said promoting dairy would be key to secure the future of the industry.

She added: “AHDB have not been working on trade development and the promotional side of dairy. It is not just about drinking more milk, it’s about building image [of dairy].

“It is so important to maintain and build image – that’s the key point. Then you can talk about the nutritional benefits. For the dairy industry, it is probably more important than any other sector.

“We must maintain our brand image. If we lose it to the processors, it will be about own-brand and that does not help all dairy farmers who invest in the levy board.”

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