Pig Farmers are currently facing a huge crisis in the industry and amidst this crisis Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board) is pushing for more sales of bacon and ham.
The new campaign by Bord Bia which started on 16 February comes as the industry is battling pig feed prices which have sky-rocketed due to grain price hikes.
Jobs being threatened
During this crisis period, reports state that producers are losing up to €15 a pig or almost €1m a week nationally. Tim Cullinan, IFA Pigs Committee Chairman, stated that jobs were possibly at risk unless prices improve, he urged retailers to increase the amount of Irish meat they stock and asked catering businesses to use Irish pig meat.
Representer of bacon companies, The Association of Irish Pigmeat Processors, stated that consumers can choose to purchase pork, bacon or cooked ham product with the Bord Bia Quality logo and to make a difference in supporting Irish jobs.
Broadcast personality, Hector O’hEochagain, launched Bord Bia’s new “Bring Home the Bacon” campaign yesterday. The campaign, which highlights the importance of always looking for the Bord Bia Quality Mark when shopping for pork, bacon and ham, incorporates national TV and radio advertising, competitions, national and regional PR and various online activities. To promote the campaign further, Bord Bia is also coordinating over 100 in-store product tasting promotions nationwide.
Speaking about the campaign, Hector O’ hEochagain who features in the radio and TV advertisement said “If pork, bacon and ham products do not carry the Bord Bia Quality Mark, there is a lot that the consumer is not getting – like Quality Assurance standards and traceability. I am fully behind this important campaign because if people don’t know where the pork and bacon they buy comes from, we could all be losing out”.
The Irish pig meat industry delivers the third highest agricultural output behind dairy and beef and employs in excess of 8,000 people in Ireland across farming, primary and secondary processing, haulage, feed mills and ancillary services.
Campaign highlights origin of pork
Aidan Cotter, chief executive, Bord Bia commented “Our “Bring Home the Bacon” campaign is designed to illustrate the importance knowing the origin of our pork, bacon and ham products and to support the pig farming industry which is currently experiencing very difficult times.”
“The continued surge in world food commodity prices, reaching a new record peak in January, illustrates both the relentless growth in world demand and the variability of supply. It represents a positive backdrop for the continued expansion of our food industry where export revenues are continuing to grow,” he added. “For the pig meat sector, with its high dependence on feed inputs and production time lags, losses are being incurred as it seeks to adapt to the changing cost structures. Our latest campaign is designed to support the industry surmount this difficult period.”
In 2010 the value of Irish pigmeat exports rose by 10% to reach €317 million, or 134,000 tonnes. Exports to international markets outside the EU, mainly Russia, China and Japan, increased from 10,000 tonnes to 27,000 tonnes. Currently there are 470 commercial pig production units in Ireland producing 3 million pigs annually. The Irish market accounts for half of its total output.
Bord Bia’s “Bring Home the Bacon” campaign will run for an initial period of 12 weeks.