Consumer response to regional marketing more enthusiastic than anticipated Safeway backing British farmers with lamb drive Safeway's latest promotion for Welsh lamb backs up wholesaler suggestions that supermarkets are taking home-killed meat more seriously. The 10-week campaign, launched on June 6, is a variation on the multiple's national lamb promotion theme, Farmers are bouncing back'. The Welsh lamb campaign includes a competition offer of free farm holidays. Dennis Hobbs, sales director of Safeway's dedicated lamb supplier HM Bennett, said this year's tactics included appealing to public sympathy for producers after the FMD crisis ­ an approach familiar in other regions. "We hope this major initiative will give Safeway customers the opportunity to support farmers by buying more lamb and the rural economy by visiting the countryside." However, Hobbs' reference to "building on our success in sales over the past four years with an expanded product line" hinted at the more significant development. Four years after Safeway's launch of Welsh Mountain Lamb, among the first of the regional meat marketing campaigns by the multiples, it is clear that consumer demand has been more enthusiastic than anticipated. That campaign was not just a promotion. It required the creation of a new supply chain as the Welsh industry's infrastructure for procurement, killing and distribution of hill lambs to major retailers was inadequate and unstable. But, according to Safeway category manager Kelly Hathway, "our lamb initiatives have gone from strength to strength since we launched Welsh Mountain Lamb". Other regional lamb marketing launches by Safeway and several of its rivals are imminent, with the likely demand impact at both the procurement and promotional ends of the meat chain suggesting livestock prices will be underpinned during the autumn. {{MEAT }}