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Has Jamie Oliver saved anyone’s bacon?

Date Published: 30/01/2009

Many in the farming community were watching with some trepidation last night as sometimes controversial TV chef, Jamie Oliver, went to work on the reputation of British bacon.

PigletsHopefully many more non-farmers, the consumers who should be buying British, were also tuned-in to Channel 4 and taking the whole thing on board.

The good news is that the programme was all about getting firmly behind the UK pig industry, which has seen the size of the national herd halved in the last ten years. There were no nasty suprises and no-one was aggressively put on the spot. Mr Oliver and his colleagues actually did a very good job of educating (with a few slightly pointless and irritating features thrown in i.e. ‘Pig Brother’).

Some of us were following the live debate on the Farmers Weekly website as the programme was aired and the reaction from those taking part in the discussion, farmers and non-farmers alike, was positive. The farmers appreciated the huge boost of support for UK pork and the non-farmers professed to having learnt a lot and having their eyes opened.

One thing that came out of the live debate, though, was the need for the pig industry to capitalise on this quickly, while there’s some momentum caused by the programme. The track record hasn’t been great for this in the past. Can UK farming get it right this time?

These thoughts are echoed today by ‘PR Guru’, Max Clifford, who was asked for his response by the Farmers Weekly team. He’s a man who knows his stuff.

What do we think? Is the industry now marketing savvy enough to capitalise? Are there funds available to do so? Does it even need huge funds, or just some creative thinking?

Surely making the most of such opportunities are in the interest of all UK farming, not just individual sectors.