Allan Barber reports the unique red meat industry marketing structure is well placed to face the perceived threat from alternative proteins. High demand and high prices are what producers are more likely to face

Allan Barber reports the unique red meat industry marketing structure is well placed to face the perceived threat from alternative proteins. High demand and high prices are what producers are more likely to face

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Inc. is the domestic organisation responsible for promoting beef and lamb within New Zealand and is further distinguished from its near namesake by its unique funding model. Its activities are jointly funded on a voluntary basis by Beef and Lamb New Zealand Ltd, local retailers and meat processors; this makes it the only organisation of its kind in the world which is funded voluntarily rather than by government or industry mandate.

B+LNZ Inc started out in the 1980s as the Beef and Lamb Marketing Bureau which was funded exclusively by the retailers, although by the mid-1990s this arrangement was in danger of collapsing. Rod Slater, previously one of the key people behind the Mad Butcher, took over running the organisation and succeeded in convincing the then Meat Board and MIA processor members to take over financial responsibility. By 1998 in a major advance, the Quality Mark had been established as the symbol which would guarantee eating quality of all New Zealand beef and lamb sold in restaurants and retail stores.

Within a few years retailers accepted the importance of supporting an organisation which provided consumers with the Quality Mark assurance of quality. The three way voluntary funding model was born. Now some 15 years later B+LNZ Inc is firmly established as the vehicle for domestic advertising and promotion, publicity, competitions, recipes and nutritional advice.

The Beef and Lamb Ambassadors, Steak of Origin, Glammies, Excellence Awards and Ambassador Chefs programme all contribute to a very high and positive awareness for red meat in New Zealand. While the largest proportion of beef and lamb, about 80% and over 90% respectively, is exported, the domestic market is still very important, both because of the volume sold to New Zealanders and the demonstration of excellent eating quality to locals as well as overseas visitors.

To read or listen to the media, one gets the impression red meat consumption, locally and globally, is in serious decline, under attack from veganism, alternative proteins and concerns about environmental and sustainability issues, as well as the impact of high export prices which are automatically reflected in the domestic price. Kit Arkwright, B+LNZ Inc’s marketing manager, says it is hard to get accurate information about domestic meat consumption and agrees it has declined over the last 10 years, but it still appears to be well within Ministry of Health guidelines for a balanced and healthy diet. There is no indication of a catastrophic fall as a consequence of a radical change to vegetarian alternatives, but high prices undoubtedly affect the volume consumers can afford.

Arkwright agrees there is a well-coordinated campaign to shift people away from animal proteins without taking into account the knock on health effects of removing iron and essential amino acids from a healthy diet. The assumed cost of iron deficiency to the health sector as a result of giving up red meat may well be seriously underestimated because of the many ways in which the effects can be revealed: fatigue and reduced work performance, impaired immunity, developmental delays in young children, learning difficulties, low birthweight and anaemia.

However he doesn’t see alternative proteins as a major challenge for beef and lamb consumption, because of New Zealand red meat’s value proposition as a naturally raised, nutritionally dense and healthy food with no additives. It will always form an essential part of a balanced diet, but the challenge will be to educate the public about the importance of good food and enjoyment of the cooking experience as a means of creating a healthy family environment. The Taste Pure Nature campaign, launched earlier this year in California by B+LNZ, provides the model for attracting the conscious foodie consumer group which expects greater quality and transparency throughout the whole supply chain. The domestic marketing body is working very closely with the farmer levy funded B+LNZ to ensure consistency of approach across environmental, nutritional and sustainability strategies. A key aspect of this for B+LNZ Inc is the implementation of Farm Assurance Plans on farms that supply the domestic market because local as well as global consumers increasingly expect that level of assurance.

B+LNZ Inc Chairman Fred Hellaby says the high price of meat looks unlikely to come down in the foreseeable future which makes it even more important to communicate strategically and positively with the New Zealand consumer. He believes there needs to be greater clarity about how domestic promotional strategies will dovetail with Taste Pure Nature which is more about farming systems than improved eating quality.

This has to be done on a tight budget, but Hellaby acknowledges the three joint funders may need to consider increasing their investment as a means of achieving cut-through with consumers who are asked to pay historically high prices for their beef and lamb, while being subjected to a barrage of negative publicity encouraging them to reduce their consumption. The ultimate goal is to encourage consumers to continue eating beef and lamb, but at the same time be willing to pay more for better quality.

The relationship between B+LNZ, the levy funded body responsible for global red meat activity on behalf of sheep and beef farmers, and the domestically focused B+LNZ Inc has not always been as constructive as it is today because of differing objectives and governance structures. But there is no doubt both organisations are now united in their determination to ensure their strategies and programmes are aligned to achieve the best consumer response to New Zealand beef and lamb.


Current schedule and saleyard prices are available in the right-hand menu of the Rural section of this website. This article was first pubilshed in Farmers Weekly. It is here with permission.

Y Lamb

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30 Comments

Nice to meat you!

What an offal comment.

Only a true mountain oyster man could ever dredge that one up!

I would say the facts and figures of Mr Barber’s last column evidencing the impressive growth in the USA market is as good a contradiction as any, to all the naysayers.

Billions of people won't be turning away from animal protein overnight. For one, there isn't nearly enough supply to feed that much demand at current levels.
Secondly, alternatives to dairy and meat can be correctly described as synthetic foods laden with additives, contradicting their claims as healthier alternatives to traditional macronutrition sources.

With that being said, these alternatives could quickly evolve and do away with these issues, owing to the massive public attention and funding they attract these days.
As long as our meat and dairy sectors up their R&D game and adapt to changing trends with groundbreaking product offerings such as A2 milk, we should be in a good position to not only face industry challenges but also capitalise on future business opportunities.

It is accepted that much of today's food is processed, to the extent it removes much of the goodness it would otherwise have.

This is all being driven by perception, "what looks good is good for you". Oh..we cant have fruit that has a blemish because what would our materialistic friends say...

Alternative food eating habits have been around for a long time, and one would suggest the current attention is being driven by:
1. The food shows that populate the TV (that I'd dont watch),
2. The methods of growing at mass scale for mass sale are and have compromised the quality of food produced, and
3. Perception, driven by the rampant materialism.

The reality is bottled milk use to contain the A2 you refer to. Its the mass production; both on and off farm, that has taken it away.

Might be time to go support your farmers markets, to shut out these mass producers and supermarket cartel.

"Secondly, alternatives to dairy and meat can be correctly described as synthetic foods laden with additives, contradicting their claims as healthier alternatives to traditional macronutrition sources" - ..that is categorically wrong.
Were does protein come from and how many people do you know have died of protien deficiency?
Now how many people in your life have died of heart disease and cancer?

You're right: Those on paleo vegan diets either live indefinitely and die, if ever, of natural causes.

I am discussing business here, not arguing health fads, Dr. Oz.

Stick to the business comments then, rather than your incorrect information on plant-based products.

FYI 22 ingredients in a pack of Beyond Meat. https://www.thecrueltyfreeshop.co.nz/beyond-meat-beyond-burger-2pk
Also, every packet of milk alternative available at your local Countdown store has salt, oil and gum in it, among other 'natural' sounding additives. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=12...

Impossible Foods uses heme from the roots of soy plants to mimic the texture and color of ground beef. Because it's made from plants, the Impossible Burger contains a broader range of vitamins and minerals than beef does.

"Compared to a same-sized beef patty, an Impossible Burger contains a comparable amount of calories (240 to 260), but it scores lower in a few regards. The first is that it contains way less protein — 19 grams versus 28 grams — which may make it less filling, Jaclyn London, [MS, RD, CDN], says.

"The bigger downside of the Impossible Burger is that it’s also 2 grams higher in saturated fat, likely because of the coconut oil that's added," she adds. "Coconut oil contains the highest saturated fat content of any plant-based oil, despite its super 'health halo.'" The Impossible Burger also contains a lot more sodium — about 15% of your recommended value, compared to just 4% in plain beef.

"If you love burgers and you’re opting in on the Impossible Burger because 'plant-based' seems like the healthier alternative, I’d rather you go with the regular burger and enjoy every bite," London say. "The best option if you’re cutting back on meat for sustainability’s sake would be to halve the amount of meat you’re using in that burger, and fill the rest with veggies, especially mushrooms."

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a27286383/impossi...

Black bean burgers are much healthier than a traditional hamburger (especially one you might get at a restaurant). Black bean burgers are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals but are MUCH lower in fat and cholesterol than a traditional ground beef burger.
https://www.livestrong.com/article/339146-black-bean-burger-nutrition/

Doris, great post, tks.

And you will find the quality of what little protein is in the Impossible Burger isnt the right protein for us humans.

Most of the world's agricultural land is marginal land - too cold, too hot, too dry, too wet, too seasonal, too windy, too high, too hilly, too rocky, too pest ridden, prone to flooding or snows .... and so incapable of growing edible crops in an economically viable manner. Food animals enable us to gain useful sustenance off of vastly expanded land areas - and the protein, calcium and iron they provide are tremendously beneficial to staving off childhood nutritional deficiencies that leave so many 3rd world children cognitively detrimented and physically stunted.

This from last year's FAO report:
Micronutrient deficiencies affect some 2 billion people
globally. Deficiencies in zinc, vitamin A and iron lead to stunting,
anaemia, compromised immune functions and impaired cognitive
development. Animal-source foods are dense in essential
micronutrients such as vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium, iron, zinc
and various essential fatty acids, which are difficult to obtain in
adequate amounts from plant-based foods alone. Healthy nutrition
is particularly important during the first 1 000 days of life – during
pregnancy, lactation and early childhood. Including even modest
amounts of animal-source foods in diets adds much-needed
nutritional value.
Animal-source foods currently comprise 39 percent of protein
and 18 percent of calorie intake worldwide, but this is not equitably
distributed. Poor people in LMICs often do not consume enough
animal-source foods, while others – particularly in high-income
countries (HICs) but increasingly in middle-income countries (MICs) –
consume in excess of their dietary needs.
Livestock contribute to food security on all scales. At the
household level, livestock keeping ensures healthy and nutritious
diets and contributes to incomes. At community level, the sector
creates employment opportunities. At national and global levels,
it helps provide the world’s population with sufficient and reliable
supplies of nutritious, affordable and safe livestock-derived food.

Doris - what youve said is 100% right, I see animal productions becoming scarce and only affordable to the rich, the poor will be stuck on rice cakes and malnutrition will become the new disease of the world. Watch the report Ive posted below which shows how much bullshit is hitting the pastoral sectors. Keep eating a balanced diet of meat, milk and vege's, dont overeat and you will live a long and healthy life. Go vegan and you go to an early grave as you simply cant eat enough protein and other micro nutrients that meat and dairy produce in spades!
Why is NZ the only country in the world thats trying to destroy its food producing industry??? We need to standup to this bullshit that Labour and the Greens are pushing at us!

There is an unfortunate bit of history that validates your point, and completely. The highly combative and courageous Japanese troops that first encountered the American Marines at Guadalcanal were shocked to find that they were fighting soldiers much bigger, much stronger. That is because firstly they had come virtually from a feudal environment that had trained them to believe they were a master race, well sort of. The difference between the strength and size of the opposing soldiers? Historical diet and protein.

Haven't you heard of vitamin supplements? I take all kinds of pills and it's great, I feel great knowing I am getting a perfect diet.

"Micronutrients in food are typically better absorbed by the body and are associated with fewer potential adverse effects. A healthful diet provides an array of nutritionally important substances in biologically optimal ratios as opposed to isolated compounds in highly concentrated form. Indeed, research shows that positive health outcomes are more strongly related to dietary patterns and specific food types than to individual micronutrient or nutrient intakes."

https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/02/28/closer-look-mostly-useless-suppleme...

Listen to this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq4Apc2Xk7Q #1389 chris kresser. This video/podcast has been produced to counter whats been claimed in the film thats just been released "The Game Changers".
The Vegans are using the current modern age media (facebook, instagram etc) to try to change the world to vegan and Chris uses known evidence to counter everything that the film is claiming.

Chris Kesser is a promoter of the paleo diet. He sells books promoting a high meat diet, can't you see his bias?

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Chris_Kresser

Millennial Woman
I think you will find Chris has a very balanced approach to Paleo diets in that he encourages all basic foods to be eaten in ones diet apart from the foods that dont agree with your body type and genetic eg A1A1 milk for those people with the gene that makes them lactose intolerant.
So no I cant see his bias and he's pushing red meat and milk due to the fact they both have very high levels of essential amino acids (protein) and micro nutrients (B12) that you cant get in a vegan diet. And the whole of NZ is totally dependent on how well our dairy and sheep/beef industry goes, without them we become a third world country.

Grumpy, recently I was talking to a PHD researcher about dairy intolerance - I have family members who are dairy intolerant. They made the comment that for a number of people that believe they are lactose intolerant, they are in fact intolerant to beta-casein protein and that is what is missing in A2 milk, not lactose. In fact a2milk has the same amount of lactose as standard milk so for those with a casein intolerance a2milk can be a great option. https://a2milk.com.au/faq/if-i-have-lactose-intolerance-can-i-drink-a2-m...

I believe NZ has an opportunity to market our meat as more sustainable than our competitors (i.e. grass v grain fed beef). Deforestation to grow grain for beef production is a huge issue. We can raise prices (and profit) from our exports under these conditions.

I agree that humans are evolved to eat (some) meat, and we gain essential nutrients from this. HOWEVER we don't need to eat as much as we do. We are the first generation that is less healthy than our parents, and high meat consumption is a factor in this. You can see clearly that the societies who eat the most meat are the fattest. This 'men eat meat' dialogue is BS, pushed by the fast food industry. I am personally trying to eat less meat and a lot more vegetables, and I feel so much healthier and more alert. But I still enjoy a big steak, lamb shank or beef burger once or twice a month. Moderation is key, we need to eat more vegetables.

Previous generations ate what today would be considered high meat diets, but they were more physically active than the current generation. They also ate significantly less processed food, less sugar and less salt. Meat consumption per se,is not the defining factor in societies who are fat.

As to 'men eat meat' - "[Anaemia] should not be taken lightly. Young men should not get iron deficiency anaemia. "In younger men iron deficiency anaemia is something that needs to be taken quite seriously." https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/108767316/more-spent-on-low-iron...

You are correct that some need to eat more vegetables. Only 40% of NZers eat enough fruit and vegetables. http://www.hortnz.co.nz/news-events-and-media/mikes-blog/real-cost-of-ve...

Interesting article re. Iron deficiency! My partner has high iron (30 something yo man who eats a lot of meat) and I have low iron (30 something yo woman who eats an average amount of meat). I think it is quite common for women to have low iron. But I take supplements, eat leafy greens and drink Guinness to help with this. I've had low iron my entire life and grew up rural, eating a lot of home kill beef. I think everyone's different. Iron supplements are great.

The negative health effects of meat and dairy are all well known and understood but the supposed negative health effects of scientifically grown meat and dairy are unknown, which is why I am going with the science not something that belongs in the stone age.