A major red meat sales campaign in California was launched at Beef+Lamb NZ's national annual meeting in Timaru last Thursday.

''Today is an exciting day for the red meat sector in New Zealand,'' Beef + Lamb's manager market development Nick Beeby told the conference.

''Forty-five minutes ago we rolled out 'Taste Pure Nature' into California.''

The country of origin brand campaign is the result of two years work in which Beef+Lamb NZ targeted increasing demand for premium red meat by people who were prepared to pay more for it.


''There is food anxiety around the world about the type of food we put in our bodies,'' Beeby said.

''Consumers want to make a connection back to 'real food' and they also care about the origin of their food; it's our opportunity for us to win.''

Taste Pure Nature pushes New Zealand's image as a natural, grass-fed, hormone free, antibiotic-free red meat producer.

Beef + Lamb NZ is focusing on a consumer sector known as the ''Conscious Foodies.''

''They care about where the food comes from and it's also good to know what they reject.

''They reject the factory farm model in the United States and all additives going into animals and they are mindful of the environment.''

As the campaign was being formulated feedback was sought around the world regarding impressions of New Zealand and a team from Beef + Lamb NZ spent eight weeks with ''conscious foodies'' to gain an understanding of what drove their values.

Also, before committing to California, other places were considered as possibilities for a launch, among them Shanghai, and several other states in North America.


Beef +Lamb NZ has partnered initially with the Lamb Company, First Light and Atkins Ranch to develop marketing plans for their brands to leverage off the Taste Pure Nature origin brand.

''The list is not final. Others will want to join if they get their processes right,'' Beeby said.

''A country of origin brand fits perfectly beside a company's brand and will support companies' efforts.

''Value is built in tiers. First consumers want to know what country it comes from and then which company has supplied it.''

The campaign is being driven hard on social media and Beeby said a strong PR campaign is included, using key opinion leaders who fitted the brand.

''New Zealand can only produce so much food. We have to be smarter about how we do it and tell the story of our unique grass-fed free range farming systems.''

Rick Walker, Anzco's general manager sales and marketing, said his company was right behind the campaign.

''North America is strategic for us. People there are looking for a grass-fed product and the story behind it. The New Zealand story is key.''

He foresaw China as being another possible market for the Taste Nature Pure promotion, as well as Japan, parts of Southeast Asia and continental Europe.

Beeby said before launching the campaign on Thursday Beef+Lamb NZ spoke to agencies in the United States because of events in Christchurch.

''They said now is the right time and so we kept going.''