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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » May 28, 2013
Polska... tastes good!
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Promoting Polish Food
May 28, 2013   
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The government has launched nine food promotion programs aiming to help create a positive image of Polish food abroad. These programs are for milk; pork; beef; horsemeat; mutton; grain and grain products; fruit and vegetables; and poultry and fish.

With these programs, the absorption of European Union funds earmarked for the promotion of Polish food has improved significantly. The food promotion programs have been established under a law on the promotion of Polish agri-food products that was adopted four years ago this May. Under the law, food producers and processing companies can finance their marketing activities from a joint pool of funds. Such a system has long been used in other European countries. It allows food producers and processing companies to decide together what initiatives they want to support.

The main aim of the food promotion programs is to promote Polish agri-food products abroad, in addition to supporting agricultural marketing campaigns and encouraging increased consumption. The law defines the range of measures that can be financed under the food promotion programs, but the decision as to which projects should be supported is left to producers, food processing companies and agricultural organizations. Under this arrangement, food producers are on the one hand required to make contributions to a program, but on the other hand they make their own decisions on how the collected funds should be spent.

Poland’s food promotion programs are based on contributions of zl.0.001 for each kilogram of milk purchased by a procurement center or 0.1 percent of the value of other commodities such as grain, meat, fruit, and fish. The money comes from agricultural producers and is transferred to an account run by the Agricultural Market Agency.

Thanks to the food promotion programs financed by contributions from producers, trade organizations can be more successful in securing EU co-financing because they can afford to contribute the rest of the funds needed for a project. Last year, trade organizations received nearly zl.48.3 million from the food promotion programs for the promotion of agri-food products.

EU funds can be used to finance activities such as public relations as well as promotional and advertising campaigns for European food products—to get the message across to consumers that these products are attractive in terms of quality, health safety and nutritional values, and that they are properly labeled and manufactured hygienically and with respect for the environment and animal rights.

Recent promotional activities by the Polish food sector are exemplified by two informational and promotional campaigns designed to encourage Polish consumers to drink milk and eat high-quality beef.

The Mam kota na punkcie mleka (Mad About Milk) campaign aims to raise awareness among children and their parents about the nutritional and health properties of milk, yogurt and cheese. Through this campaign, milk producers and processing firms want to promote consumption of milk and dairy products among both children and adults. The campaign comprises a number of competitions and educational games. Two organizations are responsible for it: the Polish Chamber of Milk Producers and the Polish Federation of Cattle Breeders and Dairy Farmers.

In turn, the QMP - wołowina zawsze dobra (Quality Meat Program: Good Beef) campaign being conducted by the Polish Association of Beef Cattle Producers aims to inform consumers, wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs about the Quality Meat Program, designed to guarantee high quality of meat. The main message of the campaign is that QMP-certified beef is thoroughly tested and safe for consumers as well as tasty, tender and juicy.

Both campaigns will run for three years. Their total budget is over 4 million euros. Both are 50 percent co-financed from European Union coffers; 30 percent of the money comes from the Agricultural Market Agency and the remaining 20 percent is contributed by the programs for the promotion of milk and beef.

Recently the Polish Food Industry Federation (PFPŻ) proposed that a part of the funds collected by food promotion programs be spent on raising the profile of Polish food products abroad. This is in response to a campaign against Polish food that has recently intensified on various markets, especially in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. According to food producers and processing firms, failure to respond to attempts to undermine the reputation of Polish products could produce a drop in exports and a deeper crisis in the food industry. As a result of talks it was agreed that 5 percent of the funds from each promotion program would be allocated for joint efforts to protect the image of Polish agri-food products abroad. In total, around zl.2 million may be raised in this way this year.

Those managing the food promotion programs are determined to make their own efforts to put in a plug for Polish food abroad, independently of the promotional campaigns undertaken by institutions including the Ministry of Agriculture. Recently, Stanisław Kalemba, the Polish minister of agriculture and rural development, came up with a plan to protect the reputation of Polish food. A special team has been appointed—composed of veterinary inspectors as well as officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agricultural Market Agency, the Food Council (Rada Gospodarki Żywno¶ciowej), the Agricultural and Food Quality Inspection Service, and the State Plant Health and Seed Inspection Service—to work out ways of communicating information about food products to the media. The team will also deal with developing promotional measures to improve the image of Polish food.

The Economy Ministry has also joined efforts to promote Polish food. It plans a range of measures to help improve the image of Polish export specialties. These include the participation of businesses in overseas trade fairs, seminars and conferences combined with events such as product tasting, study visits and outdoor campaigns. All these measures will be supported by an advertising campaign for the Polish economy as a whole on key markets such as Russia, Germany, China, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. The campaign is expected to get under way in the fourth quarter of this year. It will chiefly be carried out in the press, on television and on the internet. The main target audience are owners and managers of foreign companies.
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