How a food communication expert inspires consumers

Friday, 7 May 2021

Denise Spencer-Walker, our Food Communication Manager, shares how integral the role is when selecting, preparing and creatively designing food recipes for AHDB’s multimillion pound marketing campaigns.

Throughout history, food has played a pivotal role in society – not only to sustain human life, but it’s become a way of life, a choice and freedom of expression. UK consumers demand a choice of diverse cuisines from across the globe – a traditional Friday chippy is no longer the only option.

Food sectors are constantly in a battle to compete and ensure consumers continue to maintain the demand. One of the many roles that we play is to preserve the reputation of our sectors and prosper the relationship between farmer and consumer – ‘farm to fork’.

Our Food Communications specialist, Denise Spencer-Walker, plays an integral part in selecting, preparing and creatively designing food recipes to inspire consumers to choose pork products and enjoy home cooking. 

We invest over £19m in marketing and export development every year to help farm businesses thrive by developing and maintaining domestic and overseas markets – helping to inspire consumers to pick pork products.

Working with marketing intelligence experts, data is produced to understand consumer shopping habits and to identify information on particular cuts of livestock that would benefit from promotion. The marketing campaigns are developed accordingly, focusing on producing recipes that will inspire consumers to select pork cuts and drive industry demand.

Work experience

Working in the Market Development department for 16 years, Denise’s role involves working on food marketing projects, relating to a specific marketing brief. This includes recipe development and recipe writing, market research, testing, production of recipe videos and still photography to provide food expertise across multiple channels.

The work also involves recipe demonstrations to external audiences and providing specialist food input into social media channels (like websites, Instagram, Facebook). The recipes are specially designed, crafted and double-tested, based on our Market Insight reports, food trends and double recipe testing in a bespoke test kitchen. 

Qualified in Culinary Arts and Food Hygiene, Denise has over 25 years of experience working in food, specialising in the red meat sector. Denise has worked on a variety of campaigns for AHDB, including our Midweek Meal with Pork campaign, alongside other sector campaigns like Thin Cuts Steak, Make it Lamb and Love Lamb. Her role is fundamental in developing recipes that promote specific cuts of meat, creating consumer demand for those products with delicious, inspiring food. 

As a highly experienced member of the team, she has obtained knowledge from multiple roles, including working in London for nine years as a food advisor, working on food and education projects for Sea Fish Industry Authority – a government organisation promoting UK fish and seafood in the UK – a recipe resource co-ordinator at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in London and a food researcher on BBC2’s Food and Drink programme with Anthony Worrall Thompson and wine critic, Oz Clarke.

Denise also worked freelance at the BBC Good Food Magazine test kitchen as a home economist, and Nestle UK as a senior home economist, working on a wide portfolio of food brands. She is also a member of The Guild of Food Writers and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals).


Supporting marketing campaigns

The role of a food communication expert is complex. They say people eat with their eyes – Denise spends her time making food appear appetising and attractive on TV-led campaigns, to ensure the quality of British food stands out.

We live in a digital world, in which social media creates a desire to compete with one another on who can post the most attractive and engaging content. It’s purely judged by appearance and ultimately how well it fits within their lifestyle.

Below is a breakdown of the areas of work a food communication expert would cover: 

  • Working alongside national TV-led marketing campaigns 
  • Recipe development, recipe testing and writing
  • Food photography and videography
  • Export food projects and recipe demonstrations at consumer events
  • Nutritional analysis, working in partnership with the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) to ensure a balanced plate is achieved

Product and recipe development is a crucial part of our campaigns, it helps to guide our marketing specialists to understand the needs of our market before deciding on a particular pork cut. Using market data and consumer reports, Denise identifies a market need, exploring how to tackle the consumer market with appropriate communications for our £1.5 million marketing campaigns.

It’s a powerful part of a marketing campaign as it ensures the demand for pork is increased. Denise explores how to create practical, easy and affordable recipes to persuade the consumer to eat more pork. 


Working closely with stakeholders

We work closely with the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) and other organisations to ensure the recipes meet the criteria of a nutritional and balanced diet. This is a core part of our marketing campaigns, to provide consumers with the correct information on food, farming and nutrition.

The creation of recipes is at the heart of how AHDB does this – for example, the We Eat Balanced marketing campaign highlights British-produced red meat and dairy as a source of vitamin B12 and protein, alongside its environmental and animal welfare credentials. It involved months of research and planning by Denise and the wider AHDB team, with various testing methods employed to ensure the messaging gets the most traction with consumers. 

Exporting British produce

Another core area of work is our export food projects, to boost the promotion and consumption of British meat and dairy products across the globe. This included the production of recipe videos for export webinars and exhibition use, undertaking product food photography for bespoke export markets and conducting recipe demonstrations to live audiences at trade and consumer shows.

As a food communication expert, Denise supports the red meat industry on a national and global scale, from export to home cooking.

Explore the different campaigns, such as the Love Pork and Midweek Meal with Pork campaigns, to see how we passionately promote pork across the UK and globally. Visit for further information.