#HonestDairyLabels, a consumer awareness campaign designed to stem continuing imports of cheese and other dairy products and help consumers to make better informed buying decisions was launched by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers at Livestock 2012 today, Tuesday 4 September.
“Consumer concern over dairy product source of origin is reflected in a recent survey conducted by Which? magazine,” RABDF chairman, David Cotton told a media briefing at the event. “In fact dairy topped the list of staple foods; 73% of consumers surveyed indicated they wanted to see provenance labelling on dairy, followed by meat, 72%, and milk used in dairy products, 68%.
“Confusion continues on the cheese shelves despite a recent improvement in labelling with the use of the Assured Food Standards’ Red Tractor Union Jack logo, he said. “Strong brands such as Pilgrims Choice are perceived to be British but are in fact produced and processed in Ireland; Cheddar labelled ‘produced in the UK’, is made from Irish milk, and exported to England for packaging. There are many others.
“Market leading Muller yogurts assumed to be made at Market Drayton from British milk carry no AFS Red Tractor Union Jack logo. In fact the majority of yoghurt on supermarket shelves is imported. Last week, Arla announced it is commencing making Anchor block butter at Westbury, traditionally a New Zealand brand to be made with 100% British milk and offering a great opportunity for AFS Red Tractor to be used.”
RABDF was at the forefront of #SOS Dairy’s consumer fronting success with it four pint poly visual to clearly demonstrate the breakdown of distorted price share between farmer, processor and retailer.
“We made it crystal clear that the nub of the issue is the supermarket margin which has grown from 5.2% in 1996 to a current 29%. We confirmed the massive power of social media in the #SOSDairy campaign. The four pint poly was reTweeted and seen by more than 3.5 million people in two weeks, including Jamie Oliver, Jimmy Doherty and Jake Humphrey. During the same period, the RABDF Facebook page reached over 695,000 people. We attribute our success to being open and honest and providing consumers with clear factual data and simple to understand information,” he said. “We plan to adopt a similar strategy for #HonestDairyLabels.
“The campaign is scheduled to fill the hiatus prior to EU legislation to be implemented in December 2014 which will require complete country of origin labelling on all food products. Cheese imports continue to amount to over 400,000 tonnes, a volume theequivalent of over four billion litres of liquid milk and representing approximately one third of total GB annual production. In addition, improved dairy product labelling will enable consumers to make better informed choices and ultimately to empower them to decide where they shop.”
He added: “#HonestDairyLabels is one of our contributions to the coalition’s 10 point plan and we intend to make sure our coalition partners are kept fully up to speed as it develops.”
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