Government told to “keep out” of pig levy decisions

The government has been told to “keep out of decisions about how the pig levy is spent”, with this “unequivocal message” being dispatched with massive majority backing from English pig producers.

According to a statement issued by the National Pig Association (NPA), producers want more of their 85p-per-pig levy to be spent on marketing, to encourage younger consumers to understand and embrace modern ways of cooking and serving pork.

This comment is based on the results of a poll on the NPA website, in which over 90% of those who took part agreed the sector’s recent Pulled Pork campaign was a good pig levy investment.

“And over 90% said Defra should not dictate whether future AHDB Pork marketing campaigns get the go-ahead or not,” said the NPA

Poll results:

  • 96% said the first phase of the Pulled Pork campaign was a good way to spend the pig levy
  • 95% said they would like to see more of their levy spent on promotional activity like this
  • 97% said Defra should not be able to dictate how the pig levy is spent

The NPA statement added that the message to Government followed “levy-payer concern” about Defra interference in marketing matters, as highlighted this week when AHDB Beef and Lamb chairman, Stuart Roberts, resigned amid fears AHDB levies will be “lost to the realms of a remote tax that the industry will have little or no influence over”.

NPA chairman Richard Lister (pictured above) added: “As diets change in our sophisticated marketplace, intelligent and informative marketing to explain the benefits of red meat is absolutely essential if British producers are to grow or even just maintain the domestic customer base. If AHDB cannot achieve this on behalf of levy-payers because of Government interference, then it is hard to see what its role will be going forwards.”

The association also quoted independent research showing that phase one of the six-week Pulled Pork campaign in May-June created a 19.2% uplift in volume sales of fresh pork shoulder.

Phase two of the campaign is due to run in January-February next year, when one of the goals will be to continue rejuvenating pork’s image with younger consumers.

Currently £3.8m of the pig levy is spent on AHDB Pork marketing activity, accounting for about 40% of the sector board’s total annual spend.

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About The Author

Freelance journalist Colin Ley is Pig World's website news reporter