Beef & Lamb sector plan 2022–2027

As a result of the Shape the Future vote the sector council has asked for considerable change in what AHDB does for the Beef & Lamb sector.

The most striking feature of this plan is that all work will be expected to protect or promote the reputation of the sector, either directly or indirectly.

There will be four core areas of work that will collaborate with each other to do this:

  • Reputation
  • Marketing
  • Exports
  • Insight and evidence

Future levy distribution:

Listen to Beef & Lamb sector council members discuss the plan


So, what do we mean by reputation? In consumers’ eyes the hot topics are their own health, animal health and welfare, and the environment.

The aim of this work is to protect and promote the reputation of beef and lamb to consumers.

We will measure impact by annually gathering data about the perception of consumers towards beef and lamb.

AHDB will:

  • Educate consumers of the future by working with the British Nutrition Foundation, supporting Open Farm Sundays, providing teaching materials for schools, and supporting Healthy Eating Week
  • Promote the image of red meat in the media by stressing the benefits of eating beef and lamb and challenging misinformation
  • Bring the industry together to tackle reputational issues, identifying the most effective messages to promote the industry while encouraging others to share them widely
  • Provide expert spokespeople, case studies and the facts for the press and media
  • Actively seek opportunities to promote the positive work of the industry and its benefits for wider society
  • Respond to government consultations and address Select Committees using evidence to positively inform government policy decisions
  • Inform policy development to ensure beef and lamb remain a key part of the Government’s Eatwell Guide
  • Remain alert to emerging reputational issues and policy direction


Levy payers can only support the reputation of the industry if they have good opportunities to sell the beef and lamb that they produce at profitable prices.

The domestic market is incredibly valuable. Many foods are competing for shoppers’ spend, and not just other meats. A positive consumer attitude towards beef and lamb is vital to sustain long-term demand.

The aim of this work is to protect long-term demand by championing beef and lamb as an excellent choice for consumers.

We will measure impact by sharing with you the pre- and post-campaign results showing how consumers attitudes have shifted as a direct result of our marketing campaigns.

AHDB will:

  • Continue the We Eat Balanced campaign, joining forces with other sectors to reduce costs and give greater impact to our work with consumers
  • Deliver other highly visible targeted marketing campaigns across national TV, online, social and press
  • Showcase our world-class farming standards to consumers, including animal health and welfare and environmental credentials
  • Work with retailers to improve the shopping experience in the meat aisle


The more beef and lamb we can sell around the world, the better chance we have of getting the best value for the whole carcase and so support farmgate prices.

The aim is to increase market access and drive exports to underpin prices.

We will measure impact by sharing with you the number of markets open, the value and volume of trade, and the value that brings per head.

Currently those figures are:

Beef: 79 markets, 135,000 tonnes volume, approx £439m value, and a value per head of £164.

Lamb: 45 markets, over 73,000 tonnes volume, £446m value and a value per head of £35.

AHDB will:

  • Continue to open new markets by collaborating with government and industry to realise new sales opportunities, including approval for sheep meat to Taiwan and the USA, and beef to China and South Korea
  • Champion beef and lamb at international trade shows in target markets such as North America, the EU, Asia and the Middle East
  • Host foreign buyers and governments seeking to approve and facilitate increases in access and trade
  • Work with exporters to enable them to visit target markets and increase trade
  • Support exports of beef and lamb in established markets by working closely with exporters

Insight and evidence

It is only possible to protect and promote the reputation of beef and lamb if we can provide evidence of excellent on farm practices demonstrated across our industry.

However, farmers can only employ the best techniques if they are aware of them, and they are profitable enough to adopt. AHDB provides independent insight and evidence to support farmers and, in turn, the reputation of the industry.

The aim of this work is to enable levy payers to improve their on-farm practices and gather data to support the reputation of beef and lamb.

We will measure impact by the profitability of the sector and scores from the Levy Payer Satisfaction Survey.

AHDB will work in the following areas:

Animal health and welfare

  • Collect data to underpin the reputation of beef and lamb. For example, the use of antibiotics in the sector via AHDB’s Medicine Hub
  • Work with others to prevent or minimise the effect of any diseases, such as BVD and TB, which can affect the physical and economic performance of the herd, and the reputation of the sector
  • Work with Defra to develop the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway


  • Build on our existing knowledge and use it to help levy payers navigate changes to environmental policy
  • Provide the best practical advice on techniques that will boost profits and minimise environmental impact
  • Develop a roadmap to work with industry to develop and document shared objectives to benchmark the impact of beef and lamb production on the environment, and provide proof of continuous improvement
  • Work with the industry to develop standard approaches and metrics where they are most needed
  • Commission an independent review of the role genetics can play in reaching net zero, and consider how this can be optimised and funded

Market intelligence

  • Supply price information
  • Analyse cost of production and farm margins, including international comparisons
  • Follow consumption trends that could impact on demand levels and standards of production
  • Monitor emerging longer-term market signals that will impact on profits and the ability to compete at home or overseas
  • Provide 24/7 access to all this information and other practical resources on an improved website

Work reducing or stopping following the vote

The sector council has acted on clear messages from levy payers to amplify our work on marketing, exports and reputation. Delivering this work, combined with a reduction in total income, means that hard choices have to be made and some work must be reduced or stopped.

There were lower scores in areas such as environment and animal welfare. While much of this is vital to underpin the reputation of red meat, we must not duplicate what others are already providing. Other areas, such as transition from BPS and people in agriculture, will also be pared back. The council has asked AHDB to collaborate with government, industry, and others to consider alternative funding routes.

The sector council asked the AHDB team to:

  • Prioritise work that supports reputation (including educating younger consumers), the domestic market and exports, and supports levy payers to make informed choices. The latter includes essential elements of animal health and welfare and environmental work, as well as supportive market intelligence
  • Scrutinise all other work, eliminate duplications with others and optimise opportunities to collaborate
  • Ultimately, ensure that all work supports optimising the reputation of beef and lamb

Your council – next steps and contacting us 

AHDB is committed to putting the levy payers at the heart of everything we do.

In doing so, you will have an active, field-based Engagement team who will work alongside you, industry experts and key stakeholders. Their specific talents, insights and enthusiasm to work across the industry will provide the essential connections between our organisation and others whom we need to collaborate with to achieve our aims. As a pivotal point of contact and by using various methods of engagement, the team can share insights and evidence that is not available anywhere else in the industry.

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