Can vegan mince provide insight for the red meat sector?

Rural Exchange 03/11/2018

New Zealand’s red meat sector is looking at popular consumer trends to better position beef and lamb products – particularly, at the trends driving alternative proteins.

Earlier this week, a Dunedin-based company launched a plant-based mince targeted at omnivores looking to reduce their meat consumption.

These types of products are precisely what Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is investigating.

Younger generations, especially millennials, have had an enormous influence on current food trends, says B+LNZ innovation manager Lee-Ann Marsh.

“They’re having a lot of influence in terms of where they spend their money,” Ms Marsh told RadioLIVE.

In March, B+LNZ released an extensive report on alternative proteins and the implications their success has for the red meat sector.

The report found that environmental concerns and animal welfare were two key areas that the modern consumer cares about. According to Ms Marsh, these concerns are driving many young consumers to adopt a plant-based diet or reduce their meat consumption.

While a world with more vegans may not be ideal for New Zealand’s red meat sector, Ms Marsh emphasises that local meat can be marketed to address these concerns.  

“We’re really well positioned to take advantage of those trends,” she said.

B+LNZ plans to address these concerns by beefing up the story behind local beef and lamb products, like emphasising the meat’s origin, geography and how it’s ethically made.

With consumers eating less meat, the industry will need to emphasise the quality and experiences that comes with eating New Zealand products.

“It’s about telling our story and providing our consumers with a bit of a glimpse around the experience. So where does our meat comes from? And what does it mean for them? And how does that make them feel?”

Watch the full interview with Lee-Ann Marsh above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.