British origin is the meat and potatoes of food labelling

By Hayley Brown

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Salmon, Twitter

Now is the time for meat processors and manufacturers that use British meat in products to be "selling themselves" to the public, as pressure mounts to clamp down on "dishonest food labelling", according to Paul Kelly, md of Kelly Turkeys.

Speaking at a National Farmers' Union conference last month, Kelly said that the industry should not be seen as a mass of "faceless corporates" and that the best advertising for British products is to provide the public with information on where their meat is produced. For example, Kelly Turkeys uses social networking sites to reach the consumer and provide information on how its birds are produced in the UK. Since it has been on Twitter, for example, its online sales have shot up tenfold, claims Kelly.

When launching new products, he adds: "The media is our friend. As well as social networking, we allow the public to enter the farm, we've appeared on celebrity chef TV shows and I have frequent meetings with the local media." One product, for example, that received a lot of media attention was Kelly's ginseng fed turkey. According to Kelly, ginseng is a well-known aphrodisiac so the marketing message behind the product was: "Buy a Kelly bronze turkey and bonk your way through Boxing Day." He said that the ginseng-fed turkey cost an extra £3.50 to produce but Kelly charged an extra £20 per bird because of the product's perceived value. The media helped attract the interest of consumers and the ginseng-fed turkeys sold out.

Kelly's comments come at a time when campaigners are turning up the heat on misleading food labelling. For example, the website www.honestlabelling.com encourages consumers to vote on the worst offenders, which include Ghillie & Glen Scottish smoked salmon some of which is Norwegian Atlantic salmon and products that label Wiltshire ham as an ingredient, when the ham was cured rather than reared in Wiltshire.

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood, Legal

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