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Where is Australia’s iconic lamb brand?

December 12, 2018

December 12, 2018

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Where is Australia’s iconic lamb brand?

Australian lamb is synonymous with a respected, high quality product, that serves the global market. So why aren’t there any Australian lamb producers with any name recognition?

Australian lamb is synonymous with a respected, high quality product, that serves the global market. So why aren’t there any Australian lamb producers with any name recognition?

Some brand associations are classic; Biro pens, Coca-Cola soft drink, Hoover and the vacuum cleaner. But brand associations are constantly evolving and emerging, and more modern examples like the idea of “Googling” when searching the internet, or “Photoshopping” when manipulating an image have become just as strong as some of the more traditionally iconic brands and products.

In the Australian poultry market, it’s a similar story; there are two major brands that you could safely wager would spark some sort of recognition from most of the population – Inghams and Steggles. But Australia is a comparatively small producer of chicken compared to the rest of the world, ranking below countries like Thailand, Mexico, Turkey and Russia, who all produced more chicken meat in 2017.

By comparison, Australia exported more lamb than any other country in the world in the same year. This is on top of being the second largest producer of lamb meat globally. The total value of the sheepmeat industry is approximately $5.23 billion annually, with forecasts suggesting that 2018 is looking like a record year for exports to major markets like the United States.

So all of this begs the question, where is the iconic Australian lamb brand? Beyond the annual iterations of the Sam Kekovich Australia Day advert imploring you to eat lamb on January 26, an industry that Australia has come to dominate has surprisingly little to no name recognition with the average Australian consumer.

But Australia Food & Farming (AFF) believe that this is a gap in the market that is primed to be filled, and they believe the way to go about it is to use Dorper lambs. While they were bred for some of the most inhospitable conditions South Africa has to offer, they may as well have been bred with Australia in mind. Hardy enough to cope with arid climates and drought-stricken areas, they have proven themselves to be very adaptable.

In fact, the hardiness of Dorper lambs has in part driven investment strategy; their toughness makes buying up tracts of land that have been abandoned because of their condition a viable approach. Similarly, another factor that adds to the attractiveness of the breed is the rate at which it grows, able to gain 250gm a day, more than four times the rate at which cows are capable.

The fertility of Dorper lambs means that flock sizes can double in 2 years whilst herds of cattle take up to five years to reach the same milestone. These lambs can help solve a problem that is looming large on the horizon, but needs to be addressed now. Our population is growing faster than it has ever been, but our supply of food is not increasing to match it.

Similarly, patterns of consumption around the world are changing; the Chinese for example eat 1250% more meat than they did 50 years ago on average. As average incomes rise, it is forecast that the world will need to produce 50% more protein than it currently does, to satisfy changes in diets. Dorper lambs are one of the ways in which we can use our existing resources in a more intelligent way, to safeguard our food security.


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