Lamb marketing to receive boost in PGP progamme
The Government and industry have teamed up to boost lamb consumption and farmers' profits through a new $25 million research programme.
Meat processor Alliance Group, the Headwaters Group and the Ministry for Primary Industry (MPI) say they want to reach existing and emerging markets with a "new class of premium lamb products with improved health qualities".
The seven-year programme, which will be half funded by MPI and half funded by industry, will investigate what consumers want, and create new "consumer-ready" packs.
It is one of 20 primary growth partnership (PGP) programmes into which the Government and industry are co-investing $724m.
Labour Primary Industries spokesman Damien O'Connor described the funding as "one more slush fund for National's constituency, which would provide questionable outcomes".
He referred to a recent Auditor-General report on the PGPs, which said MPI needed to better show what they had achieved.
Murray Brown, general manager marketing at Alliance Group, said the programme reflected a move away from commodity production towards markets with higher value products.
"This programme heralds a healthier future for red meat and New Zealand's pastoral farmers. New health-focused premium products are the focus, including fresh and manufactured meat products and health supplements.
"Lamb products that are lower in saturated fat and higher in polyunsaturated fat and essential healthy omega-3 oils are an early aim of the programme," Brown said.
The first stage of the research would be to ask consumers for their views.
Headwaters New Zealand – a group of Alliance farmer shareholders - is gearing up to provide trial animals for part of the programme, which focuses on how production systems can impact on consumer-health traits.
Brown said the aim was to develop and prove production systems which were better for the farmer and the consumer and then roll them out to the wider industry.