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Consumer demands – Opportunities for lamb in Queensland

posted on 2024-02-19, 04:59 authored by Megan StarMegan Star, John RolfeJohn Rolfe, Jeremy De ValckJeremy De Valck, Darshana Rajapaksa, Ben Lyons
In western Queensland improved seasons, high costs of restocking with beef cattle and the introduction of exclusion fencing to protect from wild dogs have resulted in many opportunities for landholders to produce sheep meat; solely or in conjunction with a wool enterprise. While many of these areas have previously run sheep until the 1980s, it is unclear if demands for lamb and sheep meat are substantial enough to justify pastoral enterprises restocking with sheep rather than cattle. This review provides an analysis of meat demands from Queensland households to provide insights. A large national study was completed in 2020 where participants were asked about their consumption habitats and preferences across lamb, beef, pork, chicken and seafood. This report focuses on lamb and the Queensland participants in the survey, which reflect the broader population of Queensland. The study aimed to understand the drivers of consumption of lamb, trends in actual consumption (meals per week) along with what consumers expect it to be in five years time. As well as Socio-demographic factors, these included attitudes and preferences around non-measurable aspects of meat relating to health, animal welfare and environmental factors, which are commonly termed credence attributes. Overall consumers are eating more chicken and beef than they are eating lamb, with 75% of Qld participants eating lamb for one meal or less over the week. It was estimated that for all Qld survey participants consumed a total of 732 meals per week containing chicken, 631 meal per week containing beef and 281 per week containing lamb. Perhaps add a sentence here about what consumption is expected to fall to in 5 years time. Interestingly religion was a significant indication for the quantity of lamb consumed, although this was a small portion of the sample size this requires further investigation. Consumers were most concerned about live export for animal welfare as Qld does not currently have live export of sheep. However this is an insight for the industry when securing future markets. Processing and feedlotting were of a lesser concern with paddock level production generally not being of concern for consumers. Environmental interests were largely based around localised impacts of sheep grazing such as local streams and waterways and biodiversity impacts. Following this were the greenhouse gas emissions of transporting and production. Health was also important to consumers particularly in regards to fat content. There was a significant statistical relationship between those looking to reduce consumption of lamb in the next five years and low fat content being important to them. Antibiotics, nutritional value and production occurring in an open environment. Highlighting the scope for industry to consider the supply chain along with the breeds of sheep that they look to produce and the cuts that are presented in a retail space. This study providing insights regarding consumers’ demands for lamb meat. The insights regarding key drivers of consumption relative to other meats and the importance that consumers place on different aspects of how the product is produced are critical for industry as they re-build the flock size for Queensland and seek market opportunities along the supply chain.


Category 3 - Industry and Other Research Income


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Rural Economies Centre of Excellence (RECoE)

Peer Reviewed

  • No

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Star Economics Pty Ltd, University of Southern Queensland

Author Research Institute

  • Centre for Regional Economics and Supply Chain (RESC)

Era Eligible

  • No