Lamb lower in saturated fat could soon be on the menu with the approval of the business case for a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Alliance Group and Headwaters New Zealand.
The ‘Targeting New Wealth with High Health’ PGP programme looks to reach existing and emerging markets with a new class of premium lamb products with improved health qualities – including lower levels of saturated fat, and higher levels of polyunsaturated fat and healthy omega-3 oils.
Alliance Group general manager marketing, Murray Brown, says the $25 million programme – which runs over seven years – taps into the increasing consumer demand for premium foods.
“There are significant markets domestically and overseas who are willing to pay a premium for high-quality, healthy food – so it’s exciting to be able to develop our science and innovation towards commercial-scale production to meet that consumer demand.
“The programme could see greater value extracted from carcases thanks to the development of a wide range of new ‘health focused’ product types including traditional meat products, manufactured food products and health supplements.
“We will be looking at developing different product forms, such as baby food, pet food and health foods,” he says.
Mr Brown says the benefits of the programme will extend to the wider lamb industry.
“If wider market trials prove successful and demand exists, we see real potential for all farmers to benefit with increased returns.
“Through this programme, we’ll be able to develop consumer products and new production, processing and marketing techniques that can be applied across our supply chain and could be extended to other industries, allowing them to leverage access to new markets.
“A significant part of the programme will be conducting market research to identify novel opportunities for lamb and processing products domestically, building on New Zealand’s reputation as a premium food producer,” he says.
‘Targeting New Wealth with High Health’ has the potential to generate $400 million in additional revenue to the primary sector over 25 years.
Headwaters New Zealand – a group of farmer shareholders with interests in farms throughout the country – is providing the livestock for the initial programme.
General manager Ian Hercus says the programme will allow a greater amount of value to be captured, with an integrated value-chain to connect the producer and the consumer.
“Building on three years of scientific research into improved genetics, forage techniques and farm practice, through the ‘Targeting New Wealth with High Health’ PGP programme we’ll be able to cost-effectively produce a differentiated high-health lamb, paving the way for potential new products and markets.”
“We’re looking to achieve additional premiums for New Zealand farmers and processors, and raise the value and profitability of New Zealand’s lamb overall,” he says.
MPI has approved the business case for the programme, which means contract negotiations can now begin so the programme can formally start.
“We believe ‘Targeting New Wealth with High Health’ will have wider benefits for the primary industries as a whole, and will strengthen New Zealand’s position globally as a supplier of high quality, value-added food products,” says MPI’s deputy director-general sector partnerships and programmes, Ben Dalton.
“The programme will have benefits for some of our other PGP programmes, Red Meat Profit Partnership and Foodplus, such as improved on-farm performance monitoring and adoption of best practice and technologies. The programme also collaborates closely with Beef and Lamb Genetics to deliver new genetic improvement initiatives.
“It’s great to see cross-collaboration within the PGP, and this programme highlights how the PGP is providing a springboard for innovation,” Mr Dalton says.
“MPI is excited to get on board with this innovative new venture.”
About the Primary Growth Partnership
The PGP aims to boost the value, productivity and profitability of our primary sector through investment between government and industry. It provides an essential springboard to enable New Zealand to stay at the forefront of primary sector innovation. When the two recently approved programmes are under contract, there will be 18 PGP programmes underway, with two recently completed.
PGP programmes are generally long-run programmes of five to seven years’ duration and are subject to oversight and monitoring by an independent panel (the Investment Advisory Panel) and MPI.
Monitoring requirements include programme steering groups, quarterly progress reporting, annual plans, financial audits, and progress reviews, along with evaluation of the overall programme. Government funding is only released to programmes on receipt of invoices for work completed in accordance with programme plans.