A Bord Bia application to the European Commission seeking a fund of €3 million to promote Irish suckler beef in key European markets has been denied.

Joe Burke senior meat and livestock manager at Bord Bia confirmed the status of the application – submitted earlier this year – at a Teagasc beef and sheep event in Tullamore last night, Wednesday, November 13.

In response to a question on the matter, Burke said: “We just found out the other day that, unfortunately, we were not successful in that particular one.

“But don’t be too disappointed. It’s not that we have parked it or anything like that. It was going to be a three-year campaign,” he said.

Speaking to a room of around 150 farmers, Burke outlined that Bord Bia is now “looking within its own resources” to fund a similar campaign.

“We’re looking within our own resources and those of our stakeholders as well – not just the Department of Agriculture. It also has to be supported by the industry.

So really we’re looking to partner with some of the processors to champion some initiatives in marketing.

Burke noted that suckler beef “has always been a key message” in relation to promoting all the positive attributes of Irish beef production.

“You could say they’re the shop window of the Irish beef industry,” said Burke.

The application was made by Bord Bia earlier this year as part of a work programme for member states which allows for funding for the promotion of specific features of agricultural production methods in the EU.

If the application had been successful, co-funding of 70% could have been awarded by the European Commission and a three-year campaign would have been implemented in Germany and Italy.

Consumer research

Burke outlined that Bord Bia has engaged in consumer panel research with some “key customers” in order to make sure that the campaign would resonate with them.

He explained this was to ensure Bord Bia could “develop a premium proposition and communicate this and ultimately charge more for it”.

It did actually resonate strongly with a lot of them. Obviously you’d be starting from scratch because there’s currently no beef available in a supermarket that calls out its beef as ‘suckler beef’.

“It’s kind of more subtle than that the way it’s communicated to a lot of markets and to customers.”

Concluding, the senior meat and livestock manager said: “It’s something that we’re going to pursue and continue to push. It’s one that we see a key demand for.”

Irish Pork and poultry campaign

Earlier this week, Bord Bia announced major plans to spearhead a multi-million euro EU pork and poultry campaign in China and Mexico.

The EU Commission has awarded co-funding of €3.05 million towards a €3.82 million Bord Bia information and promotional campaign to promote the proteins over the course of the three-year period initiative.

The campaign, “European Pork and Poultry – Excellence in Quality Assurance and Food Safety”, will commence in early 2020, targeting a combined population of 1.5 billion people across these two key import markets.