Pledge to step up campaign to contemporise and modernise Danes determined to keep bacon special' Clive Beddall Copenhagen Buoyed by increased sales to Britain, upbeat Danish bacon producers fired another "whacky" marketing salvo this week ­ and then followed it with a pledge to step up their campaign to "contemporise and modernise" the product's image. As predicted in November, the FMD crisis has benefited Danish sales to the UK. Shipments rose to 120,000t last year, compared with 100,000t in 200O, with the overall market accounting for about 460,000t. However, the annual conference of industry organisation Danske Slagterier heard that while the Danes strengthened their stake in the retail sector, business with foodservice customers also grew. But, speaking during the conference, DBMC marketing director John Howard warned that all producers needed to maintain their efforts to ensure bacon held on to its "special place" in the minds of UK consumers, and in the face of competition from other convenience foods. He said: "Bacon is unique. Consumer groups wax lyrical about its specialness and that's something we need to hang on to as we drive away its traditional, commodity image." This week the Danes unveiled the latest campaign in their long history of tongue-in cheek-marketing, which reflects their desire to be different. The commercial traces a son's efforts to cure his father's addiction to the smell of bacon cooking. Added Howard: "Not for us the sight of a sweet, typically British, perfect family, sitting at table and cracking weak jokes. That's not the image we want for our product." Meanwhile, rising prices and higher demand for pork as a result of the continental BSE scare gave a big boost to Danish exporters last year, with earnings rising to high levels. However, DS economists suggest prices this year will fall, especially in the second half as a result of higher EU pig production, increased outpot of EU beef and poultry and increased competition from Canada and Brazil. DS executive Karsten Flemin foresees rates falling to Kr8.50 in the final three months, from around DKr10/kg in the first quarter. {{MEAT }}