Farming & Fisheries

Farmers feel betrayed by ABP’s investment in ‘meat-free’ meat

September 5th, 2021 11:50 AM

By Southern Star Team

Farmers feel more is being done by ABP to promote plant-based produce, than their grass-fed meat.

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LIVESTOCK farmers feel betrayed by what they feel is the business strategy of the ABP group to become a big player in the market for plant based alternatives to meat products.

That’s according to ICSA president Dermot Kelleher who said it sharply exposes that ‘we are not all in it together.’

ABP first entered the meat-free category in 2011 and has grown to become a market leader for the production of own-label vegetable-based meat-free products. Earlier this month it extended its presence in the meat-free market with the launch of its Dopsu range in the UK. The range consists of frozen No-Beef Pieces, No-Chicken Pieces, No-Duck Pieces, No-Lamb Pieces and No-Pork Pieces

Mr Kelleher said: ‘APB have described their new range of products as the  “meatiest non-meats around”, and the accompanying websiteasy innovation. Can the same be said about their marketing of beef or lamb? I think not. Nowhere have they shown even a fraction of similar creative thinking. For many years now, ICSA has repeatedly called for innovation in the marketing of beef, lamb, and organic products.

‘We have fought a lonely battle with other farm organisations in standing up for the sustainability and nutritional and health value of beef and lamb. But the very companies that have made billions from beef and lamb exports have done little or nothing to help other than to sell as cheaply as possible and pass costs back to the farmer.’

He said it was ‘galling to see no financial effort being made by meat companies to build brand awareness around grass-fed beef and its health and nutritional benefits.

‘However, the approach with Dopsu is eye opening. In contrast to the way that beef, lamb, and organic meats have been left languish with minimal innovation in marketing, suddenly an ABP subsidiary has clearly undergone a Damascus-like conversion to modern marketing and innovation, using cutting-edge business school techniques to magic up a new brand of plant based alternatives to meat.’

He said that ‘ABP has grown into a multi-billion euro empire on the backs of Irish beef farmers, but this decision to divert the profits into plant based meat substitutes – something that could undermine, or even destroy, the Irish beef and lamb sectors – is truly galling.’

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