Funding Your Future 2023 – Beef & Lamb Sector Chair open letter

An open letter to levy payers from Colin Bateman, AHDB Beef and Lamb Sector Council chair.

Last year, levy payers took part in the AHDB Shape the Future vote, to decide what priority areas the levy should be invested in. For Beef & Lamb levy payers, the clear message was that the levy should be used to promote the reputation of red meat and that this should be delivered by:

  • Increasing access to export markets
  • Consumer marketing campaigns
  • Insight and evidence to underpin all our reputation work

Since the vote, the Beef and Lamb Sector Council has ensured that those areas have remained the focus of AHDB delivery for the sector. Some of the highlights over the last year have been:

  • AHDB’s industry-recognised We Eat Balanced marketing campaign reached 43 million adults last year, with 90% agreeing that red meat and dairy can form part of a nutritious diet. Measuring impact on sales is expensive, but the last time we did this in 2020 for our Make it Steak and Make it Lamb campaigns, we delivered a return on retail sales of £12.30 and £5.59 for every £1 of levy money invested, respectively
  • The extra demand from overseas sales helps to support our industry by protecting prices from the impact of an oversupplied domestic marketplace and balancing the carcase. Export values of beef were £640m from 80 markets in 2022, while values for lamb were £503m from 49 markets. This year, we worked with industry and government to open the US market to beef and, more recently, sheep meat and genetics. We have also promoted levy payers’ products at international trade shows in Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and the USA, as well as a large presence at the Anuga food event held in Germany
  • We protect and promote the reputation of beef and lamb and our industry to consumers and government. Our team has promoted the image of red meat in the media by stressing the benefits of eating beef and lamb, and challenging misinformation by the BBC and several other bodies
  • We have brought farmers, retailers and processors together to promote the benefits of red meat in a healthy diet as part of the We Eat Balanced campaign
  • We have also brought the industry together to tackle reputational issues, identifying the most effective messages to promote the industry while encouraging others to share them widely. Specifically, we are creating a roadmap for a sustainable future for beef and lamb to demonstrate the value our farmers give to the wider environment

Levy payers have asked us to do more 

  • We are currently seeking access to growing markets, including Taiwan and South Korea. It is also important that potential buyers are regularly reminded of the merits of British red meat and our production standards and we will continue to host inward missions, like one we recently did in Yorkshire for key buyers from the Philippines, USA, the Middle East and Mexico
  • We are investigating increasing the frequency of our marketing campaigns so that we can maintain the momentum on shifting consumers’ attitudes to red meat. In addition, we are creating smart, targeted marketing activity to inspire consumers to enjoy beef and lamb, including targeting younger consumers who are much more likely to question eating red meat. For example, our latest halal campaign has set the ambition to reach more than 500,000 young Muslims and be seen more than one million times
  • We have doubled our spend on education work that champions beef and lamb with young consumers and schoolchildren, including getting more children on farm and bringing beef and lamb ingredients into classroom cooking
  • We have used facts around the low and reducing impact of British beef and lamb production on the environment to support farmers to be recognised and rewarded for their environmental credentials

If a levy increase is supported, we can continue to address the issues that levy payers and stakeholders raise and focus on bringing more value to the priority areas that levy payers asked for.

If you would like to share your views, contact us at

We look forward to hearing from you.

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