Brassica sector urged to unite for better marketing
Brassicas face declining market share, but other vegetable marketing initiatives offer possible role models for the sector, the conference heard.
Dr Hans Christoph Behr of German market intelligence firm AMI pointed out: "(European) consumption of most fresh brassicas is decreasing. The supply of some brassicas is not well adapted to changing consumer demand."
Dieter Lloyd, director of Pam Lloyd PR, the company that runs the sector's Love Your Greens PR campaign, posed the question: "Do we wait for the market to come back to us or do we control our own destiny?"
He pointed to the remarkable rise of asparagus over the past decade, from being bought by just two per cent of households in 2001 to 16 per cent last year. "They had a single product, a long-term vision, broad support and a clear, consistent message," said Lloyd.
By contrast, he added: "The brassica sector has conflicting views and agendas. It needs to make a decision between promoting individual crops and mounting a generic campaign." But fewer than one shopper in four knows what a "brassica" is, research has shown.
British Onion Producers Association chairman Robert Oldershaw said of promoting onions: "They are healthy, versatile and cheap, and we can always find a positive slant. The key is getting journalists on board."
But he warned: "It's hard to show how money spent on PR translates into money spent on sales. And it gets more difficult as more vegetable industries attempt PR."