Ed Bedington
A trade campaign to raise the profile of Dutch fresh pork in the UK market is now under way.
The Dutch Meat Board is making contact with both retailers and processors to provide more information on the country's fresh pork offering.
Robert Smith, managing director, said: "Historically the Dutch Meat Board has been thought of as the Dutch Bacon Board, which is understandable as bacon is our largest export into the UK."
However he said with the decline in the British herd, there was now a growing gap when it came to fresh pork.
"The retailer's first port of call is always going to be British and that's recognised from the outset, but if they're going to fill the gap with imported product, then the Dutch have a very good quality product that they should consider."
The DMB is working to build links with both retailers and the processing sector on the fresh pork side, and providing information on everything from Dutch welfare issues to pig numbers and the country's respected quality assurance scheme IKB.
"It's not a hard sell," said Smith. "We're not saying you must switch to Dutch.
"We're simply making the information available so that when it comes to the time to make a decision, Dutch meat is considered as an option."
He said that although the Dutch herd numbers were declining, the country was still more than 250% self-sufficient and remained a major exporter of quality pigmeat and bacon.
He said the board was trying to determine what information would be useful to each sector and tailor the information they can provide accordingly.
As well as fresh pork, Smith added the Dutch would launch a similar trade campaign for Dutch veal later this year.
"It will be a pilot programme. Despite the Dutch having an excellent reputation for veal, it still suffers from the perception of crates, but those days are long gone."