Friday, June 27th 2014

Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, is calling for an international branding campaign for Irish beef to be established, which would highlight the fact that Irish cattle are grass-fed, giving our beef a better flavour. Deputy Lawlor has suggested that the campaign could be styled on the Kerrygold marketing drive, which pitches the product as ‘the one and only Irish butter’.

“I believe that an improved, open market is key to a profitable beef industry. A stronger focus on the benefits of Irish beef over its international rivals would help our market performance. In particular, the fact that Irish cattle are grass-fed makes our beef distinct, especially when compared to the US and Europe, where cattle are corn-fed. I think basing a branding campaign on this premise would help set Irish beef apart as a high quality grass-fed product.

“I warmly welcome the €500,000 which has been allocated to Bord Bia to assist the beef industry, but would push for more funding and support to be offered to promote Irish beef on the international market.

“The Irish beef industry could follow in the footsteps of the Irish Dairy Board which helped make Kerrygold the recognised international brand for Irish butter and a household name across the globe. In 2013 alone, 350 million packets of Kerrygold butter were sold internationally; it’s the number one selling butter in Germany and the number one imported butter to the US. We should strive for a similar market for Irish beef.

“During the recent visit of US Secretary for Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to a Kildare suckler farm, I was struck by the need to make the distinction between corn-fed US cattle and grass-fed Irish cattle. I am calling on all stakeholders in the beef industry and Bord Bia to come together to get Irish beef recognised as a product of excellent grass-fed quality and boost the industry internationally.”