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New Zealand lamb brand strong in Europe

Media Release


22 October 2009


New Zealand lamb brand strong in Europe – Meat & Wool New Zealand

New Zealand lamb’s brand presence in European markets continues to be strong, according to Meat & Wool New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen, who is just home from the International Sheepmeat Forum in Brussels.

Mr Petersen said the New Zealand lamb promotion, funded by farmer levies, was a key driver of this positioning and New Zealand lamb was the only imported meat on the supermarket shelves with a country brand.

“This is extremely positive, but I was reminded frequently that other countries are working hard to make inroads to the market position we currently enjoy.”

Mr Petersen said although there is limited supply of New Zealand lamb in the market due to the time of year, demand for the new season supply is firm and New Zealand companies are working hard to ensure pricing is maintained.

The International Sheepmeat Forum in Brussels was a Meat & Wool New Zealand initiative to look at ways to address the lack of profitability in the sheepmeat sector and falling sheepmeat consumption and production levels.

“There were 130 delegates from 20 countries and it was a unique and unprecedented gathering of international sheepmeat producers and processor interests.

“There was a clear consensus that the way to address poor profitability for sheep farming was to increase demand and consumption of sheepmeat.”

Mr Petersen said that delegates recognised that it was an aging population that was eating lamb in European markets, and there is a need for younger consumers to be targeted.
“There are clearly opportunities for further development of convenience products for younger consumers, and more targeting of other market segments, for example the Halal market.”

There was also strong support for greater international collaboration in research, particularly in the area of rumen efficiency and other areas to improve productivity.

“The Forum recognised that New Zealand is leading the world in research to improve rumen efficiency and there was considerable interest in discussing how we can apply that research to farming systems in Europe. The Global Alliance concept that we have been pursuing with the New Zealand Government also received strong interest and we are keen to facilitate European support for this approach.”

Mr Petersen said that Meat & Wool New Zealand’s commitment to building stronger relationships with its counterparts and farmer organisations in the northern hemisphere was reaping the benefits.

“While there is some debate around the shoulders of the season, European farming leaders understand the complementary nature of our supply and the role that this plays in sustaining demand for sheepmeat year round.”

Mr Petersen said overall there was strong support for the need to work together on the common issues facing the sector.

“The discussions used to start with the issues that appear to divide us rather than the issues that we have in common. There is now a willingness from all parties to engage constructively, and it appears that addressing the issue of climate change could be the vehicle for greater cooperation among farmers internationally.”


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