British Sausage Week aims to bite back with good PR after red meat's black Monday

British Sausage Week 2015, organised by the The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) with PR support from Good Relations, kicks off today, looking to combat several days of bad PR for the broader meat industry.

Sausages: The WHO report turned up the heat on meat producers (Credit: Sean via Flickr)
Sausages: The WHO report turned up the heat on meat producers (Credit: Sean via Flickr)

Last Monday, a report by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which placed red and processed meats such as sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco and asbestos, gained international media attention.

AHDB's British Sausage Week 2015, which runs from 2-8 November, has the theme 'sausages of distinction'.

AHDB comms team manager Stephen Farmer told PRWeek that the event was in its 18th year. "This isn’t an initiative that’s been rushed together just after Monday," he said.

"It initially was started out as us trying to 'premiumise' sausages, getting people to buy up, and it draws attention to local produce, local butchers, farmers and sustainability."

Farmer also pointed out that sausages attaining Red Tractor certification standards were not classified as processed meat, but as fresh meat.

"The week will provide an excellent platform to get across some of the messages that we got out on Monday," he said. AHDB's statement on that day pointed out that UK consumers on average eat 17g of processed meat a day, far less than the 50g amount declared hazardous by the IARC.

Good Relations, which has handled PR for British Sausage Week for several years, is tasked with getting broadcast and print coverage for the campaign.

Events include a competition to find Britain's best butcher-made banger, with the winner to be announced by celebrity chef Michel Roux JR on Tuesday. A media campaign handled by Good Relations has seen the creation of Britain's most expensive sausage, which costs £37/sausage or 100 times the UK average, while the 'sausages of distinction' theme and 'posh up your sausages' slogan are reinforced by the filming of a sausage etiquette guide by one of the stars of TV's Made in Chelsea.

Richard Moss, CEO of Good Relations, said: "Good Relations has been working on British Sausage Week since its very humble beginnings 18 years ago, and it’s a campaign we are immensely proud of. Creating engaging and relevant content, with new themes, new ideas and new insights each year is a challenge we continue to relish alongside our friends at AHDB."

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