Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 11 December 2018

New Zealand looks to muscle in on Ireland’s grass-fed beef and lamb story

Stock photo. Picture:Jessica Shapiro/Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Stock photo. Picture:Jessica Shapiro/Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

New Zealand is looking at creating an umbrella marketing ‘story’ for its beef and lamb brands, which would emulate yet challenge Irish beef and lamb.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the farmer-owned, industry organisation representing New Zealand's sheep and beef farmers, has said it wants to get the story of New Zealand’s grass fed beef and lamb out to consumers.

A marketing team recently travelled to China, the US, Germany, India, Indonesia, the UK and the UAE and says there is low awareness of New Zealand and its food production systems, but a potential for growth, especially in lamb.

Michael Wan, who led the team, says New Zealand is known as being the film set for Lord of the Rings - if at all - and in markets where this country is a recognised producer, New Zealand lamb is often ranked below other nations for premium quality.

“Yet everywhere the team visited, they discovered a real hunger for healthy, natural food with a unique taste profile – and New Zealand lamb ticks all of those boxes.”

He said that the team has found the story of grass-fed lamb and beef produced by farming families has been captured by other producers.

“Australia, in particular has been particularly adept at selling this story, but so too has Ireland and the UK.”

He said New Zealand is being out-marketed by others where the product and provenance is no better than the Kiwi’s.

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Michael said that there is great potential is in the development of a story around a unique taste experience of New Zealand natural grass-fed lamb and beef produced in an authentic way in harmony with this country’s beautiful environment.

“In all the markets the marketing team tested, taste emerged as one of the biggest drivers of meat purchasing decisions and satisfaction, followed closely by factors such as the health attributes of the product, food safety and animal welfare. Interestingly, the animal welfare was more strongly related to the impact that welfare had on the quality of the meat rather than moral issues around farming animals.”

Underpinning this taste would be our natural farm systems that ideally are GMO, antibiotic and growth hormone free, he said.

“No other country is in as good a position to claim that.”

He also said that consumers are willing to pay significant premiums for meat with the attributes they are looking for. 

Michael says the industry collectively needs to be specific and very focused about the markets it wants to target.

“We need to decide where we want to operate and what markets will deliver the best return based on econometrics and detailed analysis.”


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