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Weaknesses in industry cohesion costing kiwi farmers

MEDIA RELEASE

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16 February 2016

Weaknesses in industry cohesion and international marketing are costing kiwi farmers

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre Chair Rick Powdrell is calling for action to be taken to address issues in the marketing of kiwi lamb overseas – particularly in the UK – to prevent our sheep farmers continuing to face low returns.

Speaking at Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Council in Wellington today, Mr Powdrell said meals featuring lamb had fallen 7% in the UK, while lamb consumption in the US was rising at 10% per year.

Mr Powdrell has just returned from the American Sheep Industry Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he had seen first-hand some of the initiatives that are underpinning this growth.

“The US is a market where we have a Trilamb programme, jointly funded by industry bodies in Australia, New Zealand and the US, which is designed to influence consumer choice by raising awareness of the nutritional benefits of eating lamb,” Mr Powdrell says.

“The American industry is also working to improve the quality of their product, and chefs are playing their part by responding to changing consumer tastes through the cuts that feature on their menus, with many increasingly opting for lower grade cuts and offal.”

But Mr Powdrell says the UK is a market far removed from the US.

“Falling consumption of lamb in the UK reflects a failing of the industry to adapt to changing consumer tastes and the necessity to have a whole of industry approach that would best enable is to identify and respond to this.”

“It’s a huge concern and asks the question of whether those responsible for marketing lamb overseas are doing enough on behalf of kiwi sheep farmers?”

Mr Powdrell used today’s speech to call on meat industry leaders - industry bodies, meat companies and government agencies - to work together with Federated Farmers to develop a long-term sheep meat strategy.

“We need to unite our industry and work with others in the UK and other markets to ensure we are identifying and addressing changing consumer tastes and how lamb is marketed, cut packed and sold.”

ENDS

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