The ability of lamb to pair with the different cuisines of the world, and its intrinsic characteristic of lending itself to be shared, will hold it in good stead against a backdrop of declining overall fresh meat consumption.
This is the word from Meat & Livestock Australia's domestic market experts, who say reinforcing the versatility and ease with which lamb can be prepared will also be critical to the protein's future.
Total fresh meat volume has seen a slight downward trend in per capita consumption over the past five years, as many people look to reduce the overall amount of meat in their meals for health reasons but also to economise on their weekly shopping budget, according to MLA consumer insights research.
MLA Domestic Market Manager Graeme Yardy said while the price of fresh protein had been increasing across all categories, on lamb specifically the average price paid by consumers had risen faster than the other proteins.
Naturally, that reduces its competitiveness on the shelf.
The volume of lamb consumed per capita has been on a slight downward trend since a peak in 2015.
However, the per capita value of consumption has been rising significantly from just over $80 per person five years ago, to close to $90 expected in 2019.
Lamb is the fourth most consumed protein behind chicken and beef, when pork, ham and bacon products are combined - fresh pork consumption is less than lamb.
Chicken per capita consumption is in slight decline, beef is relatively stable and pork is showing a small increase.
It will remain vital to continue to remind shoppers that lamb is not just for special occasions...
"Australian lamb is valued for its freshness and quality, but as relative price has increased, shoppers will often reassess lamb's value to their meal repertoire, compared to other protein choices," Mr Yardy said.
"It will remain vital to continue to remind shoppers that lamb is not just for special occasions, but easy and versatile enough for everyday meals."
Lamb's place also looks strong as Australia continues to embrace the cuisines of the world.
"More than 30 per cent of our population were born overseas, and this is influencing the way Australians eat," he said. "Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian, and South American are becoming some of the most popular types of food. They pair particularly well with lamb, and are often prepared to be shared, which is a hallmark of the lamb brand."
MLA's high-impact summer advertising campaign has also become a critical way to reinforce the values of Australian Lamb and is still relevant ten years after it was launched, Mr Yardy said.
"We invest in creative storytelling to make sure Australia knows there is no more Australian a way to get people together than to 'share the lamb'," he said.
"We know summer is a time of the year when people are more likely to socialise and eat together. When we strengthen the attachment people have with lamb, not only are we reminding them to buy, we are also increasing their likelihood of paying more."
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