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Building a pork brand, 1 tour at a time

The EU PiG Innovation Group aims to raise the competitiveness of the European pig industry by connecting producers and sharing tried and tested best practices. In this edition: creating awareness through company tours and the sale of unique Berkhout meat with a story.

The ambassador

Doreen van den Berkmortel, owner of Van den Berkmortel pig farm in Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands. Her farm houses 1,000 sows and 8,500 pigs.

Doreen van den Berkmortel is the owner of Van den Berkmortel pig farm in the Netherlands. - Photo: Van Asschendelft Fotografie/ Ilona Lesscher, Nieuwe Oogst
Doreen van den Berkmortel is the owner of Van den Berkmortel pig farm in the Netherlands. - Photo: Van Asschendelft Fotografie/ Ilona Lesscher, Nieuwe Oogst

The innovation

Van den Berkmortel wants to build a strong brand by engaging customers and building their trust, She offers customers and the public a chance to visit the farm and to see the welfare, cleanliness and quality standards for themselves. She promotes this by talking to visitors during open houses and farm tours, walking and cycling tours. This allows consumers to see and feel that the pigs are cared for and well looked after.

The idea

The Van den Berkmortel family is proud of their pig farm and their Berkhout pork brand. Many consumers, however, are misinformed about the pig sector as a whole. Their goal is, therefore, to have consumers buy tasty meat directly from the producer, with trust in and appreciation for the brand.

By opening her farm’s doors to customers, Doreen has the opportunity to educate consumers, to be transparent about farming practices and standards, and to generate curiosity about pig farming and the Berkhout pig brand. This offers an enormous opportunity to positively promote the sector.

The consumer experience

Open houses are free of charge and provide visitors with the opportunity to learn about how the pigs are raised and cared for, and to learn more about meat processing. In addition, various activities are organised, all of which make for a fun and educational day out. Farm tours cost € 15 per adult and € 7.50 per child. Walking tours are € 7.50 per adult and € 5 per child. Cycling tours are € 27.50 per adult and € 15 per child.

The advantages

  • The farm builds a trusted brand.
  • The farm generates income from the tours.
  • An anticipated revenue increase of 15%.

The costs

Implementing the changes at the Van den Berkmortel pig farm cost the owner over € 350,000 over the past 6 years. However, annual revenue due to increased sales is almost € 70,000.

What is next?

The family is planning a project for schoolchildren, and wants to build a new barn for their piglets (4 to 11 weeks of age) with a skybox for viewing purposes.

EU PiG Innovation Group

The EU PiG Innovation Group (EU PiG) aims to help pig producers find tried-and-tested best practice from fellow producers across Europe. Through an annual EU-wide contest, called the EU PiG Grand Prix, more than 300 producers share their innovative ideas and best practices, which are developed in response to industry-wide challenges, to compete to become 1 of 8 EU PiG ambassadors. Each year, 2 topics are chosen for each of the project’s four key themes, namely health management, meat quality, animal welfare and precision production. In various editions of Pig Progress, a best practice will be discussed.