beef cow

AHDB has hit back against claims it will give less support to the meat industry following a restructure of its marketing and export teams

The levy body, which announced the restructure in January, has faced criticism from some commentators amid speculation marketing budgets would be cut and expertise lost as a result of the changes coming into effect this month.

However, AHDB chief marketing and communications officer Christine Watts told The Grocer the levy body would continue to give the meat industry the same level of support as ever, with marketing spend actually set to rise in some areas. “In beef and lamb once last year’s (17/18) accounts are finalised we will see an actual spend of c£9.4m,” said Watts. “This financial year (18/19) we have a budget figure of £11.4m.”

Though some marketing and export functions were being centralised, the marketing strategy and spend for each sector would still be determined by individual sector boards, she added.

“We always have a ­sector-specific view. Where it makes sense to share resource or talent or research we will do that to get best value for money for levy payers.”


AHDB was also investing in “a number of areas”, including additional digital and creative resource, a dedicated international events team and regional export teams, to make the levy board more “fit for the future”, Watts said.

Regional export teams would give AHDB the “in-market expertise” it needed to better help the industry grow exports to markets where it already had access and to “gain new market access agreements” after Brexit, she added.

Watts admitted there “has been and will be some redundancies” as a result of the restructure, but said it was likely “these would be less than 10 in number”.