Dear Sir,

Have you seen the exciting new AHDB ‘We Eat Balanced’ £1.5 million marketing campaign launched on January 4? Anyone watching social media over the past two weeks won’t be surprised its stimulated debate with huge support, outrage, passion and enthusiasm all stirred up.

We want to inject balance into the debate about red meat and dairy – to start having a different national conversation and put farming’s voice out there. The campaign is being run across TV, print and in retail as well as social media, so millions of consumers will have the opportunity to see it. We know 98% of households enjoy meat and dairy but some are looking to reduce, and this is who our campaign speaks to.

Farmers and consumers alike have congratulated us for airing farming’s too-often untold story, and the reaction from the vegan community has ranged from outright hostility to polite and considered arguments against our position.

Social media is great for polarizing opinion and bring out both the best and the worst in people. Silencing your critics by deleting comments you find insulting or don’t agree with (as some farmers have asked us to do), or going aggressively head to head with them rarely works, and ends up giving your detractors more oxygen.

Our experience is that consumers are pretty savvy, and can see through the smoke and noise of online debate, with the result that online conversations often end up self-moderating. That is why we are deliberately letting the debate play out and staying professional in promoting a balanced diet including meat, dairy, cereals, potatoes, and fruit and vegetables.

Farmers and growers in this country feed everyone, whether they chose to eat a plant-based diet or not. Our industry must come from a position of respecting people’s food choices while making a positive, evidence-based argument for what we farm and grow and how we produce it.

AHDB will be back later this year with a second phase of this campaign. In the meantime if readers want to join in the social media conversation, they can download our asset pack at

Christine Watts

Chief Marketing Officer, AHDB