31 January 2015

TMB chairman "delighted" as 'MSisOffal' campaign raises £1000

Sir Norman Wrassle
The Tripe Marketing Board's Christmas campaign to raise funds for the UK Multiple Sclerosis Society has raised over £1000, thanks to generous donations by the TMB's supporters in the social media. 

Speaking at the TMB's offices in Preston earlier today, chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said "Sales of the TMB 2015 Diary have raised a total of £235 and I'm delighted to say we'll be posting off our cheque to the MS Society on Monday.  I would like to thank all those who have purchased a copy - making it the most successful meat-based marketing board diary ever published!"

Sir Norman also thanked the dozens of people who had contributed to the TMB's #MSisOffal campaign which highlighted the number of poor quality meat-based puns on Twitter and Facebook. "I believe over £660 has been donated direct to the MS Society and to its sister organisations in the US and elsewhere.  This was a fabulous response and I'm personally very grateful to everyone who has made a donation," he said. 

The funds were boosted by a tripe-tasting event hosted by Nelly's Barn - the mobile West Country gourmet event catering company - at Leeds Trinity Kitchen earlier this month, which raised an additional £106 for the campaign.  Sir Norman said he was sad that a prior engagement had prevented him attending the event, which saw Catalan-style tripe with spiced tomatoes served to an appreciative audience of tripe lovers drawn from across the north.  "This just goes to show that tripe is making a comeback," Sir Norman said.

Tripe lovers wishing to make a donation to the MS Society can still do so by visiting their website.

27 January 2015

Big Offal debate will go ahead

Sir Norman Wrassle
The Tripe Marketing Board has confirmed that it will be participating in The Big Offal debate at the UK National Meat Processors' conference in May 2015, despite attempts by rival meat-based marketing agencies to scupper the event.

The debate - the highlight of the conference - was due to see the TMB pitched against British Spleen, the UK Heart Council and Hmmm! Liver! (the Liver Promotion Board), until the LPB announced it would withdraw from the event unless the Haggis Council and the Northern Irish Drisheen Manufacturers' Assoication were included.

Speaking at a meeting of the East Lancashire Ladies' Circle this afternoon, TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "I'm surprised that our colleagues at the LPB have taken this position.  I can only think that they are running scared at the recent successes of tripe.  I would like to reassure you that the debate will go ahead and, if necessary we will have an empty space on the butchers' slab reserved for liver - so to speak".

22 January 2015

TMB "not dispirited" says chairman

The Tripe Marketing Board has reacted angrily to suggestions that it rushed to publish 4th Quarter 2014 tripe sales before a final audit had been completed by analysts at the European Office of Tripe Consumption.

Sir Norman Wrassle
The accusation - by EOTC president M. Jacques D├ęchets - was today dismissed as "ludicrous" by TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle.  Speaking at a meeting of the Hindley Green Women's League this afternoon, Sir Norman said: "It's ridiculous to imagine that we would somehow attempt to massage the facts.  We were working on the EOTC's own seasonally unadjusted data.  Just because the adjusted figures show that sales continued to decline, I wouldn't want people to think for a minute that we are dispirited".

The revised figures mean that this is the 229th successive quarter in which tripe sales have fallen.  Sir Norman said he was not downhearted by the results, as the fall represented the smallest on record. "The idea that we're in the business of hoodwinking the public is ludicrous.  We're clearly close to turning the corner.  If we don't do it this quarter, then I'm sure it won't be long after that," he said.

Responding to questions from the audience, Sir Norman admitted that the TMB planned a relaunch of Tripe Club - the popular children's membership organisation that ran from 1958 until the mid-1970s. "The new Tripe Club will be aimed squarely at 'Generation Tripe' - those who were born after the Second World War and who may have forgotten just how tasty tripe can be!" he said.   

21 January 2015

TMB denies 'fake' suggestion

Sir Norman Wrassle
The Tripe Marketing Board has dismissed suggestions that its social media account is 'fake', following comments made by Barnsley beat poet Ian McMilliband during yesterday morning's Toby Foster at Breakfast show on BBC Radio Sheffield.

Responding to the comments, TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "This is not the first time people have made such an accusation.  Just because we haven't got one of those blue ticks, people seem to think we're fair game".

The comments followed a feature on the show about a parody Twitter account promoting Barnsley, during which Head of Culture at Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Sue Thiedeman emphasised the importance of underscores in website addresses and Twitter accounts.

"I know some people laughed when we announced two years ago that we were embracing the social media, but since then we've worked hard to promote tripe on the internet and its thanks to our Twitter presence that we've become Europe's favourite meat-based marketing board," Sir Norman said.

Sir Norman said he was a huge fan of Mr Milliband's poetry.  "I'm not sure why he would suggest @TripeUK is a fake account, but I want to assure tripe lovers that they'll find no underscores on our account."

12 January 2015

TMB "has strategy for year ahead"

Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle has hit back at suggestions by an industry trade journal that the TMB has 'lost its way' and that claims of an increase in sales of tripe were fabricated.

Sir Norman and Lady Cheryl Wrassle
The comments, which were made in an editorial in the January 2015 issue of Offal Monthly, were condemned by Sir Norman as "malicious". 

Speaking from his hotel in Montego Bay, where he has been leading top-level negotiations with Jamaican meat processing industry leaders, Sir Norman said: "It's quite wrong to suggest that we have no strategy for the year ahead. On my return to the UK, I will be announcing a raft of new publications by our publishing arm, TMB Books - including the first ever collection of tripe poetry by our Tripe Poet Laureate, Jonathan Humble.  I doubt very much that our colleagues at the UK Heart Council could ever manage that!"

Sir Norman's busy itinerary continues today when he is due to visit The Pork Pit, a popular local eatery specialising in jerk chicken and jerk pork.  It is understood that the establishment is considering selling jerk tripe later in 2015.

5 January 2015

Campaign to stamp out offal puns extended

The Tripe Marketing Board campaign to stamp out offal puns in the social media has been extended to 31 January 2015, following research suggesting they had declined by over 45% in just three weeks.

Launched on Monday 15 December 2014, the 'Ooh - you are Offal!' campaign has already raised almost £600 for the UK Multiple Sclerosis Society by 'fining' Twitter punners £1 for every offal pun they make.

Authorising the extension, TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "We've been very encouraged by the initial response, but we know there are lots more offal puns out there.  People have been very generous, and we're sure many more have got the odd offal pun stuffed down the side of their sofa somewhere".

Sir Norman confirmed that a further £224 had also been raised for the MS Society through sales of the TMB's 2015 diary.  "For every further sale we make, we'll be donating an additional 85p to this worthwhile cause.  As it has a 'Best Before' date of 31 December 2015, we hope we can raise even more money via this route, too," he said.

4 January 2015

Tripe sales are up!

Tripe sales within the UK have risen for the first time in almost 60 years, according to figures released yesterday by the European Office of Tripe Consumption.

Sir Norman Wrassle
Average per capita consumption increased by almost 0.0012 kg in the third quarter of 2014, helped by aggressive promotional activity by the Tripe Marketing Board, continuing economic uncertainty and a trend for meat consumers to consider cheaper alternatives to their usual cuts.

TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle welcomed the news, saying it boded well for his ambition to make 2015 the Year of Tripe.  "I'm hugely encouraged by these figures.  Although they are seasonally unadjusted, they represent a turning point for tripe".

He went on to say that no one had been more surprised than he at the rise in sales.  "Despite our best efforts over the last two years, we have previously been able to nothing more than slow the decline.  If the rate of increase continues at the same pace, tripe could soon be gracing dinner tables in parts of the country we haven't reached since the 1950s".

Focus groups held by the TMB in November 2014 had indicated that more people were considering buying tripe than ever before, although most said they were unsure what to do with it once purchased. "From our point of view, the first step is obviously to get people to buy more tripe. After that, we're not particularly fussed what people do with it," Sir Norman said.

2 January 2015

Sir Norman's New Year Message to the Nation

 Sir Norman Wrassle's New Year message to Westhaughton Ladies' Circle 
31 December 2014

Let me begin by saying what a remarkable year this has been for tripe. As I stand before you this afternoon, we are eagerly awaiting the final quarter tripe consumption figures for 2014.  No one knows whether we have turned the corner, but there are indications aplenty that tripe sales may finally be rising after almost 60 years of continuous decline.

As I survey the last twelve months, it is clear to me that the foundations have been laid to make 2015 the Year of Tripe.  We said we would put beef, pizzas and pop tarts on the back foot, and I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that we did so!

There are those, of course, who think that tripe is still ‘yesterday’s food’ - that there is no place for the stomach of a cow on the 21st century dinner table.  Thankfully, those voices are fewer in number and we are slowly gaining momentum in the media.

Largely because of our work on Twitter and Facebox, I’m delighted to report that the age of the average tripe consumer again fell and has now reached 73, and for the first time in living memory tripe failed to appear in a list of the Top Ten Most Disliked Foods.  In a survey commissioned by Birds Eye, a host of other foodstuffs outranked tripe as being more unpalatable, more disgusting and more disliked.  We’re now even more popular than olives, anchovies and blue cheese! 

On the subject of revulsion, this brings me to the thorny matter of the vegans.  We all know that vegans are no fans of tripe.  I sometimes think they imagine tripe lovers sit around in our kitchens, ripping apart cows and devouring their stomachs without a thought for their welfare or the mess that the blood will cause.  Fortunately, we have at least made peace with the vegetarians, many of whom now ‘follow’ us in the social media.  In fact, when I last checked, over 20% of our followers on Twitter were vegetarians.   This is a great achievement for tripe: we stand a real chance of becoming the new bacon when it comes to winning the hearts, minds and stomachs of our veggie friends. 

Earlier this year, the world was surprised to discover something called the Tripe Smoothie.  The sterling efforts by Hyde tripe retailer Lyndon Boot to market tripe in a new way showed that tripe could no longer be dismissed as ‘chewy’.  Liquidised, it could form an important part of the diet of aspiring athletes, estate agents and barristers all over the land.  Inevitably, the press chose the most salacious angle it could think of, suggesting that the tripe smoothie could somehow boost libido.  Anyone who knows the Tripe Marketing Board will know that we rarely play the ‘sex’ card when it comes to promoting tripe.  This is a strategy we are holding up our sleeves for a rainy day.  That doesn’t mean to say that I’m ruling out something I picked up from my visit to the Chorley Women’s Institute earlier this year – you will be pleased to hear that we have plans for a 2016 TMB Calendar.

But we are not about to rest on our laurels.  There are plenty of new tripe recipes available which successfully mask its taste, smell, appearance or texture, even if the ‘Holy Grail’ — one that manages to do all four at once — still eludes us.   During the World Cup we issued a number of recipe cards to tripe retailers, which were designed to stimulate interest in tripe, including the popular ‘Ladies – treat your husband to a Brazilian this summer!’  I’m pleased to say there are still a few of those left, and I will happily distribute them later.

This year, I was pleased to be able to participate in a number of exciting fact-finding missions to discover how other countries market tripe.  Some people have suggested that these may not be a good use of our funds, but the information I glean is of great value to our industry.  In Spain, for example, one of our tour guides described the local tripe as looking like wet bath towels.  This gave rise to our popular Towel or Tripe? contest when I returned to the UK.  I also discovered that tripe isn’t available in many parts of Crete outside of the Easter period — useful knowledge for anyone planning their next holiday in those parts.

The last twelve months have also been good for tripe in the media.  It featured on the popular BBC TV cookery show Saturday Morning Kitchen, and I myself was interviewed by BBC Radio Gloucester, Cumbria, Leeds and Hereford.  I was also interviewed by the LA Times in advance of this year’s World Tripe Day celebrations.  I think it’s fair to say there hasn’t been so much tripe in the media for years, and I would like to pay tribute to the sterling work of our communications department.

Let me say a word or two about our 'Ooh - You Are Offal!' campaign.   Tripe is an easy target for offal puns but, thankfully, we have turned that to good use by inviting those who wish to make a pun at our expense to make a donation to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.  It was all inspired by an interchange on Twitter with the lovely Frances Barbour and one of her followers, Mr Max Preston.  Within two weeks, kind-hearted tripe lovers had donated as much as £600 to the MS Society.  Added to that, I will within a few weeks be handing over a cheque for at least £215 to the MS Society, which represents the profits from the sale of our TMB 2015 Diary.  I'd like to thank Frances and Max for their inspiration!

But let me close with this assurance to you.  If people think tripe has reached its high water mark this year, then they are sadly mistaken.  2015 is destined to be the year of tripe.  If we don’t quite manage that, then I am sure that 2016 will be.  Thank you. May I take this opportunity to wish the ladies of Westhaughton and tripe lovers the world over for their continued support.