Fed Farmers' Bruce Wills is a levy paying farmer deeply encouraged that Beef+Lamb is working so effectively with McDonald’s

Fed Farmers' Bruce Wills is a levy paying farmer deeply encouraged that Beef+Lamb is working so effectively with McDonald’s

By Bruce Wills

There is a hashtag of Twitter, which pretty much says it all  - #mikemoorevisionary.

Almost 30 years ago, this former Trade Minister, Prime Minister, Secretary-General of the WTO and now, our man in Washington, suggested lamb burgers would save the meat industry.

At the time, he suggested just a slither of the US hamburger market converted to lamb instead, would do the trick.

He was not half wrong because Americans consume some 150 million tonnes of hamburgers each year. Based on current lamb production here, even a quarter of one percent of that vast market, would see us fall some 100,000 tonnes short.

It is no exaggeration to say McDonald’s latest innovation is a big one for New Zealand’s sheep farmers.

Lamb is appearing on its Australasian menu for the first time ever and while lamb will make a fleeting 12-week appearance over the Tasman, here, it is a permanent thing.

To be fair, McDonald’s is not the first chain to try lamb; its nemesis Burger King did so in the UK ‘for a limited time’ earlier in the year while Wendy’s locally, I believe, has offered lamb for ‘a limited time.’

In being offered permanently here, McDonald’s ‘Serious Lamb’ burger and its ‘Lamb Snack Wrap,’ are the real deal for farmers.

As a sheep and beef farmer, my business benefits from the positive impact McDonald’s involvement with AngusPure has had.

There is a price increment for every animal I draft for McDonald’s and since August 2009, McDonald’s has not only purchased some two million kilograms of AngusPure, it has greatly raised the profile of Angus beef.

McDonald’s is also a major consumer of New Zealand export beef as New Zealand makes up part of its worldwide supply chain.

We all know sheep numbers have nosedived since Mike Moore was Trade Minister and the latest schedules don’t make for good reading.

So to prosper we need to do things differently and McDonald’s involvement is just that.

Federated Farmers kicked off T150 campaign in 2008 to set a sustainable price for lamb at the farm-gate and to stimulate industry thought. Last year’s Red Meat Strategy brought the industry and processors together further underscoring the need for new thinking.

Business ‘unusual’ is the way ahead for not just lamb but for wool too.

It is about positively shaking consumer perception so they look at what we produce in a whole new light.

Take CavalierBremworth’s new technology which replaces jute backing on new carpets, with a backing made from recycled wool carpets. This again brings the whole-life efficiency of natural wool fibres to the fore by recycling old carpets to back new ones. Instead of landfill carpets are being reused.

It is a world-first breakthrough subject to patents but indicates there is plenty of innovation kicking around at the processor level.

It also differentiates New Zealand made carpets too.

Like CavalierBremworth’s breakthrough, McDonald’s ‘Serious Lamb Burger’ and the ‘Lamb Snack Wrap’ are the product of two years development and testing.

It is deeply encouraging for levy paying farmers to see the marketing arm of Beef+Lamb working so closely with McDonald’s.

It is equally encouraging to see competing meat processors, Silver Fern Farms, ANZCO and AFFCO, all supplying lamb to McDonald’s; meat patty production being centred on ANZCO’s Waitara plant.

McDonald’s forecasts it will need a lot of lamb each week and while I know the number, I’d break confidence by sharing it. Trust me, it is a good start.

The Lamb patties will come from export-quality shoulder cuts helping to turn on a new generation to lamb.

For the cynics who seem to despise everything, I have been told the burger stacks up to that from gourmet outlets and is priced accordingly. Yet this joined up high-quality approach is what the Red Meat Strategy envisaged.

It is also a ‘think forward’ approach about adding value to a major primary export.

Those cynics may ask how and it will surprise some to learn McDonald’s NZ is an exporter of New Zealand cheese and pre-mixed dairy into other restaurants within Asia-Pacific.

Lamb offers McDonald’s NZ something new especially into countries that have a taste for this type of meat.

In this respect Mike Moore had the right idea but perhaps the wrong countries; instead of ‘go west young farmers’, ‘look east instead’.

McDonald’s India tried lamb for a short while when it entered the market there but struggled making the meat bind but McDonald’s NZ has cracked it.

We could now have something very big.

We are not pretending McDonald’s is a cure-all but it is a tremendously positive start reflecting Mike Moore’s world-view of lamb’s potential.

Come Monday, I’ll try my first and if the reviews out of our Wellington office are any guide to go buy, I’ll love it.

Meanwhile if you are in the market for a new carpet, think wool.


Bruce Wills is the President of Federated Farmers. You can contact him here »

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


I love sheep meats including mince, makes great meatballs. But I would never willingly pay for the product that is sold over the counter, I'm lucky enough to have a few sheep for home kill and the taste and texture is SO superior. Therefore I can understand any reluctense   by consumers to purchase said product. 
Beef is similar but not as marked, why the difference between what I can have and the over counter product , what is it that the works or butchers do to it to degrade it?

I think its a time thing, in 2000 I used to by chops straight from the wqanganui  meat works they were just great....I find now I have not bought lamb in 12months+ long given up on it, though I had some very nice lambs fry last night.

Gee, well anything to increase the volumes, ever since the Brits slowed on the Sunday roast its all been a bit tuff.
Not sure about looking east. Most Asian peoples can not stand the smell of lamb/sheep meats being cooked (like they have to leave the room or leave the house, otherwise heaving). Hence you never see lamb at the noodle shop.
But they use every bit of the pig.. (some anyway) - & think our of Korean friends...
In India they have to smother lamb/sheep meat with spice to knock out the smell.
Even the South Americans don't mix beef and lamb in their endless serve meat bbq places..
Middle east, well would they like to buy much from a USA based group. And its more about putting the sheep in the back of the merc, driving home and slicing it up the right way in their courtyard. Hence live exports, and other carry on (so thats been done) etc etc.
Maybe Bruce needs be thinking more goat...

I still don't understand NZ's love affair with sheep ( no , I'm not referring to the Friday night shennanigans of the single young men of Gore ) .....
..... if the rest of the world isn't enamoured with your product , stop trying to shove it down their throats !
Give the consumers of the world a product they want , not one you think is best .... baaaaah !

Well joking aside, we have just provided Bruce with a Fed Farm supported R&D project no. 1: To Neutralize the Cooking Smell of Sheep Meats.
Lest spend a little levy $ on something like this......
We can not see Mackka's adding anything but volume, and their just seeing sheep meat as a low price protein stream (or locking one up) - certainly not supporting industry wide R&D/market development.
Our understanding of the burger guys standard way of subtly changing the taste of meat is to add carboard, plastic and glue (plus staples when the metal detector is on the blink). Ground [meat] anything provides such processing flexibility...

  If you want to get rid of the smell you have to cut the nuts out. I hate buying some finishers winter friggin lamb that was probably born in a  storm caught pleurisy and struggled to get to weight, the heaviest part of it was its balls.

Who's joking ? ...
.... pigs stink too , but the only thing you need to neutralize their odours are  a fry-pan , some poached eggs , lightly buttered toast , and a steaming hot mug of tea .....
A levy is not  needed ! ..... just a set of teeth in good working order .. .... denture know that , Henry ?

GBH, we are forever indentured to you for pois, prose and rich visual imagery, as noted below, most Mackkkka's menu need not be chewed.
Q: how gummy is Gummy?

Sadly for GBH , I can't wrap me gummy gum gums around a Macca .... can't ever get a " Macca-attacka " .....
..... given another 50 years of life , until moi meets his maker ( Our Lord & Master , Haribo ) ...... there's a potential of just 55 000 meals to be had .....
And worldwide , there's millions of superb cafes , restaurants , diners , hawker bazaars , roadside stalls ........
I simply can't afford to waste one precious chance of a decent feed , by chowing down at the Golden Insipid Arches ....

We understand. Never waste a thurst on water...

Zigzactly ! ...... but , never let it be said that Gummy isn't up for a challenge ......
....  when they've produced a sheep-burger which tastes better than a Bear Gryll's banquet ( raw goat testicles / yak's eyeballs / or the juice squeezed out of elephant poo ) .... I'll give it a go ......
Probably just another 2 years for Maccas to do the  research , testing , and grilling , to get the burger to perfection  .... and then we're on a roll ....

News flash or not. This Mackka/lamb try-out is for supply to NZ domestic market only it seems.
Cross the ditch if Bruce is runnig round after the game last night he will see Mackkka's Oz singing from the roof tops the great little local Ozzie Lamb burger........
See link for picture:
Australians have been barbecuing it for years and now McDonald’s has finally twigged, announcing plans to introduce a lamb patty burger for the first time ever.......
Ex-AFL footballer and "Lambassador" Sam Kekovich will promote the new menu item with the line "Mary had a little one, we've got a big one". Kekovich is famous for his satirical ads for the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) organisation, in which he claims it is "un-Australian" not to eat lamb on Australia Day. McDonald’s created its new lamb burger in partnership with the MLA as part of its marketing strategy to promote local products. The company worked with the MLA before when it created the Grand Angus and Mighty Angus burgers using Australian beef.
Paying local suppliers more does not come into it..
Looks like Mackkka want to sell us back lamb as burger (thinking cheek & MRM) meat here rather than a decent cut you can see where its come from....
The deal comes with a fried?poached?egg sugar bread bun etc etc etc.... fries and a sugar coke....
Sweet as. So you need to do a bit of running round - They say older people are enjoying Mackka menu as most of it you don't need to chew.......
Teeth obviously not needed by that many these days...
And Size does matter, or soon will:
The burger has 3370KJ
That makes the Serious Lamb Burger higher in kilojoules than virtually everything else on McDonald’s menu, save for a Double Quarter Pounder (3560 kilojoules).The calorific punch isn’t altogether surprising: lamb is a fattier meat than beef, and the aioli won’t help. The burger also has more than half your daily sodium allowance.
Come Monday, I’ll try my first and if the reviews out of our Wellington office are any guide to go buy, I’ll love it. - Bruce, sounds like you do already -

R&D Project No.2. Method of making a food product from the leg of a lamb and product made in accordance with the method....
leg of a lamb
flank of beef
wing of a bird, etc, etc.
or for Bruce the making of a patties/burger.
and the real example: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/08/24/159943317/in-the-kitchen-with-...
........ Gagliardi has lots of patents on a chicken. He's not patenting the meat itself — which, obviously, he didn't invent. He's patenting a way of cutting it up. And, yes, it seems kind of silly to get a patent on a way of cutting meat. But it's not like Gagliardi is going to come sue you if you cut meat a certain way in your kitchen. The patents mean he can work as a small inventor and sell or license his ideas to big companies.
We tend to think of innovation as being all about high-technology. But at its core, innovation means coming up with new, useful ideas. Those ideas can come from some 16-year old trying to make a genius new iPhone app in his bedroom. But they can also come from an 82-year-old guy in a converted garage trying to figure out a better way to cut a thigh.
"This is the original popcorn chicken," Gagliardi says. Also known as Patent No. 5,266,064: "Method of making a food product from the thigh of a bird and product made in accordance with the method." Gagliardi sold this idea to KFC in the 1990s and it became a huge hit...........
This sort of thinking gets us away from volume and commodity price cycles....

R&D Project No. 3. Method of making a food product from the ground [cut/species] and product made in accordance with the method......
For approach...
"Meat from different species, different ages in the same species, and different cuts from the same animal will all cook differently. This is mainly because of the specific proteins in the meat as well as the fat in and around the muscle group," he says.
According to Chu, there are a couple types of protein that matter in the kitchen: collagen, myosin and actin. Collagen is the fibrous — and most abundant — protein found in animals. It connects and supports body tissues, including tendons and ligaments. Myosin and actin work together to help cells move — contracting muscles. Here, Chu gets really technical:
"When you cook a steak and see the 'grain' in the meat, what you are looking at is caused by the gentle constriction of the collagen sheath that holds muscle fiber bundles together," he says. "The individual strands that make up the grain are muscle fiber bundles — inside that are smaller strands being held together by endomysium collagen."
The point being laboured is Bruce and Coy should not be crowing about how good and what a great job done by having Makkas buying meat.
They should be driving forward the technology to service and delivery meat products to Makka's/super market customers.
Otherwise you have Makkas/the supers highjacking the suppliers good name/bred names/industry image for their own customer mind manipulation and they claiming all the IP that they have taken)....
Think of the way Bright/Synlait have taken the Canterbury name/image and treat it as their own.., when locals refer to it as "that PRC owned processor"....
Bruce if folk such as you, with position you have been given don't action such, these assets will be developed and taken for ever from us. We think you need consider these on behalf of inductry as individually we can't - thats why we banded together etc....

GBH, unless your an expert in this field it may be advisable to keep your opinion to yourself .The McDonalds deal could grow yet and if its creating further competition for our products it has to be good.

.... are you a sheep farmer , perchance ...... or from Gore ?

I think it would have to be over-heavy on seasoning to hide the taste of old meat and bullsh*t
Suspect cardboard will taste better...

Sheep farmer actually GBH, and you?.

I'm not an expert in this field ( good pun : boom boom ! ) so it's advisable that I keep my opinion to myself .....
.... besides , I'd rather watch a wallaby stew , than a sheep simmer .
27 : 19 ..... take that , Dingo Deans ...... nyaaaaaaah !
( grand to see Sheep Shagger back on site ) .

Im with you on this Stevie. The above article is certainly good news which as usual for this site is met with a chorus of misery.  GBH, you're normaly one of the few positive posters, whats happened.....have they finally cracked you?

Good to see you back SS :-)

SS the eternal Keynesian. Don't let us whingers dull your positive and optimistic spirit, because it is what is going to drive our economy foward. Just think positive...look what it did for Wellington. John Bluck (once Dean of Christchurch)wrote a book about the NZ psyhc called 'Culture of Complaint'. In it he claims this is what we do, us kiwis, it's how we deal with life, and it's holding us back. Hopefully with the foreign buy up of our land, (so as to maintain inflated values for the banks sake) and the required cheap (foreign) labour to work it, our culture will evolve to be more optimistic.

.... or because , at heart , we're Anglo-Saxons ...... a dour , brooding race of moody tempered folk ....... yet admirable in our loyalty to our kin , and in our work ethics ( until the dole , DPB , WFF & all that trash was introduced ) ..

Don't forget those of us up for Burns night.

Thanks SS. Not sure if this will be a game breaker but you never know!. With SFF and AGL and others looking at new marketing opportunities around the globe, heres hoping. Not so sure about all the talking the schedule down though with an expected protein shortage. 

Stevie. I recon the quota into UK/Europe has made our companies lazy. The downturn in Europe has opened up other opportunities, especially in China but also the likes of AGL into Brazil and  the above mentioned McDonalds contract.All of which should mean we are less beholden to the big UK supermarket chains in future.
CO, I still follow the site regularily but find the bias towards negativity can make it abit tedious. The old saying about misery loving company comes to mind. However I did find the TAF debates on here  very interesting, good luck with all that.....
You will have enjoyed a mild southern winter and looking forward to pumping out good production into a market that appears to me to be heating up albiet thanks mainly to the US drought. The long expected( on this site) demise of the dairy industry and dare I whisper it the much maligned houseing market seems to be as far away as ever....Happy calving!

Agreed SS. I just hope the schedule is much higher this coming season than some companies are talking otherwise the so called rise in sheep numbers could be short lived .

"positively shaking consumer perception" its red meat....not good for you in excess....
Markets that dont go for beef though.....(Arabia as well as India?)

GBH, you still have'nt told us what you do. I hear Latte's in excess are bad for you as well but Lentil soup and noodles is safe.

Bernard's the boy with the latte addiction , and steven  is the lentil lad ....... Gummy's too busy in TAFE ( & on conservation work on my spare days ) to be near a cafe .......
....... we found funnel web spiders on Friday , but not sure how a " Bear Grylls " would approach noshing on them ...... raw , or lightly singed by the flint ?

sheep shagger agree with your comments about the EU quota completely, given that the recent upturn for our lamb was seemingly driven by competition from Asian markets.
 I  also think this potential new market can only be a good thing for producers of lamb but I can't see myself getting too carried away by it because of the lack of lamb consumed locally and the US market would be a tough nut to crack  with a lot of cows to be eaten there in the next few months due to drought.
I also agree with Bruce re the Farm pure brand for the Angus beef through links with Maccas and Countdown. It is these direct links with consumer products and retailers that should be where our meat companies are focused.Beginning to happen maybe??? Still don't trust them.

Woolies' lamb chop


24 Aug, 2012 04:08 PM
WOOLWORTHS has slashed its retail lamb prices by up to 30 per cent, but says the decision will have no impact on farm gate prices with the supermarket giant to absorb the cost of the markdown.
Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis said the decision was a blow to farmers.
“Despite apparent assurances that Woolworths will not reduce the price it pays to farmers for the cheaper meat, logic and precedent suggests that it will,” Ms Davis said.
“We’ve seen what has happened to dairy farm-gate prices in the past 12 months; and three of Australia’s largest producers of tomatoes went into receivership after supermarkets moved to fixed pricing on some fruit and vegetable lines.
“The retail price of lamb should reflect the state of the market, not the state of mind of supermarket management.”
and some more insight into super thinking..........

Coles raises steaks on supply chain


16 Aug, 2012 03:43 PM
BEEF will continue to underpin the growth strategy of Coles, but possibly with some nasty strings attached for producers, a top executive of the retailing giant has revealed.
The supermarket company's quality assurance manager Jackie Healing told guests at the Rural Press Club in Brisbane last week that beef was the critical ingredient in driving more sales through its checkouts, currently standing at about 11 million transactions from the 14 million customers who enter Coles' 744 stores nationwide each week.
.... "If you haven't got fresh quality beef, you don't have a proposition to offer people to entice them into your store," she said. "We very much see beef as capturing the 'centre of the plate'. If you are able to capture the centre of the plate with beef, then you will capture the rest of the shopping basket, which per customer is worth about $85 to us." ....
Its not supporting the farmer, its about their harvesting the shopper......

Dairy farmers man the barricades


16 Aug, 2012 04:00 AM
DAIRY farmers are talking openly of barricading milk processing plants and picketing supermarkets in NSW and Queensland, and breaking low-paying contracts to send their surplus milk to other users.
A meeting of the peak body Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) this week is looking at how it may participate in or co-ordinate angry farmer protests.
The groundswell of fury about unsustainable farmgate payments, shrinking milk contract supply quotas and cut-throat retail prices boiled over in Brisbane last weekend when dairy farmers at the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) rallied with their cows.
Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation estimates typical dairy farm incomes have been cut about $50,000 this year as a direct result of the supply line earnings squeeze triggered by supermarkets slashing generic milk to $1 a litre or less 18 months ago.