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Australian Lamb Goes Mainstream

Washington, DC.  May 6, 2009 – To make lamb accessible to a broader, nationwide consumer audience, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has recently finalised a product development project aimed at refining the popular “street food”1 applications for lamb, making these applications suitable for mainstream casual dining outlets and quick serve restaurants. “Our goal was to create delicious, high quality Australian lamb applications for sandwich chains, quick serve restaurants and casual dining outlets that are unique, healthy and affordable.  These concepts are designed to make consumers feel good about the food they eat,” says MLA Business Development Manager, Stephen Edwards.

The new lamb concepts are based on a number of popular lamb applications that already appeal to a broad cross section of consumers outside of the mainstream foodservice channels. These new ideas will be applicable to various target outlets and cuisine styles, reflecting current trends in the foodservice sector. “The ideas we developed had to meet specific requirements in relation to flavor, portability, affordability and health goals,” explains Edwards. “We also had to take into consideration the kitchen facilities available at target chains so that the concepts would be applicable to their business capabilities.”

This project comes hot on the heels of the Hot Trends, Cool Chefs program which successfully highlighted the opportunity for lamb in bar food, appetizer and lunch menu applications at high-end foodservice. “The Hot Trends, Cool Chefs program was rolled out a little over a year ago when we noticed an evolving trend towards bar food and small plates,” continues Edwards. “At that time we also identified a similar opportunity at QSR, so we decided to move forward with a program targeting that segment of the market as well.”

“One of the best ways for QSR and sandwich chains to differentiate themselves from their competition is through new product launches and Limited Time Offerings (LTOs,)” says Edwards.  “Despite tough economic times the QSR and fast casual dining sector appear to be holding their own. When developing these concepts, we had to take into account the current market conditions and deliver a premium option at a competitive price point,” he adds.

Even though the new products and menu concepts will have broad appeal, item design and application selection focused on the eating habits of Generation X and Y consumers. These groups were obvious targets due to their size, dining habits and growing level of influence on foodservice trends. According to Edwards, “Research shows that Gen X&Y expect and seek out bold international flavors while also anticipating a health benefit from the products they consume.  Our concepts are a nice fit with these requirements.”

MLA has commenced preliminary discussions with a number of chains and ingredient partners, many which have little or no experience with lamb in their businesses.
“Many QSR chains and partners are surprised when we mention lamb as a QSR option. However, those that have tried the products we have developed, such as the Grilled Lamb Pita or the Classic Aussie Burger, have provided positive feedback, and that’s exciting,” concludes Edwards.

Australian lamb is an all-natural product with no artificial additives or hormone growth promotants used in its production. Its mild and succulent flavor is a direct result of Australia’s natural environment.

1 Food dispensed from carts, kiosks, and portable grills set up on city sidewalks.

For more information about Australian lamb visit www.australian-lamb.com
To learn more about the new Australian lamb concepts or to arrange an interview with Stephen Edwards, please contact Marie Cacciato of JB Cumberland PR at
 646.230.6942 or mcacciato@jbcumberland.com.