The latest insights from Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) reported strong growth and increased demand for its grass-fed, pasture-raised beef and lamb in the US.
Despite significant export and supply chain disruptions, New Zealand’s red meat exports reached a record high of $9.2 billion last year, with the US leading beef export volume growth across all key global markets.
B+LNZ has seen double-digit percentage increases in quantity (15%) and value (34%) of grass-fed beef exported to the US in 2020, signifying high demand and growing preference for New Zealand grass-fed beef.
“The global meat sector faced unprecedented challenges last year, but the tremendous growth we achieved is a testament to the agility of our farmers and processors, and growing demand,” said Nick Beeby, General Manager Market Development, B+LNZ. “Throughout the pandemic, consumers sought safe, nutritious and sustainable food choices, and many selected New Zealand grass-fed beef and lamb from our trusted brand partners.”
In addition to growing consumer awareness and preference for grass-fed beef and lamb from New Zealand, several market trends also contributed to strong performance in 2020, including a surge in at-home meal consumption due to COVID-19 and a focus on healthy eating and immunity-boosting foods. According to IRI data, “100% Grass-fed” was one of the top 10 product claims consumers looked for in 2020. The overall fresh meat category also saw growth in 2020. Fresh meat sales were up 35%, and fresh meat led to fresh aisle growth at 18%.
Meanwhile, distribution and availability for New Zealand grass-fed beef and lamb continues to grow at retail and online through a growing number of meat processing and marketing companies.
“While B+LNZ focuses on building awareness and preference for New Zealand grass-fed beef and lamb, we work with meat processing and marketing companies on specific campaigns to drive consumers to their products leveraging the Taste Pure Nature brand,” says Beeby.
One of many companies taking advantage of Taste Pure Nature is Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand’s largest red meat producer and exporter. Silver Fern Farms has seen a 36% increase in retail presence on the West Coast compared to the year prior. In November 2020, the company launched a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site to provide their premium quality grass-fed red meat products direct to customers across the US.
Matt Luxton USA Director of Sales comments on the US market, “we are pleased with our retail and e-commerce expansion and will continue to focus on channel growth to bring conscious Americans our sustainable red meat. We care a lot about protecting the environment and sustainability at Silver Fern Farms. In fact, our Sustainable Chain of Care program includes a range of initiatives and targets to reduce our environmental impact, such as reducing water and energy use. Watch out for an exciting announcement in the sustainable beef space coming to a store near you soon.”
Appetite for grass-fed meat continues to show significant gains in 2021 as Americans prioritize sustainably raised food products. A 2020 survey found that nearly 7 in 10 Americans said buying sustainably raised or produced food products is a priority. As consumer behaviors and preferences shift toward conscious consumption and more sustainable choices, B+LNZ continues to educate Americans about the benefits of grass-fed beef and lamb and the New Zealand grass-fed difference.
“With grass-fed beef and lamb from New Zealand, people can feel better about their meat choices without compromising on taste or quality,” said US-based registered dietician and nutrition consultant Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, “Not only is grass-fed red meat more sustainably and humanely raised than conventional meat, it’s also nutritionally superior and contains important vitamins and nutrients for overall immunity, energy levels, focus and performance. Plus, it’s leaner, more finely textured and tastes better!”
As part of increasing New Zealand’s sustainability story in the US, B+LNZ is educating US consumers about New Zealand’s holistic approach to farming; which focuses on soil health, animal welfare and thriving farm communities, and a commitment to maintaining the country’s biodiverse environment, protecting water and air, and reducing carbon emissions. The country is comprised of multigenerational family farms that believe in a connected ecosystem central to regenerative agriculture, and beef and lamb farmers use methods that have evolved over generations and are well-adapted to local environmental conditions.
B+LNZ’s newly released consumer-facing website, Making Meat Better, is helping underpin the sustainable promises made by Taste Pure Nature and is supporting the marketing of New Zealand beef and lamb globally.
Visit the Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s US website which has information for US consumers about partner brands and where to buy New Zealand grass-fed beef and lamb at retail and online.
About Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Beef + Lamb New Zealand is an industry organization representing and supporting New Zealand’s beef and sheep farmers. B+LNZ aims to raise awareness for grass-fed and pasture-raised meat from New Zealand, with a focus on delivering information and education on its benefits under the Taste Pure Nature origin brand. For more information, visit https://beeflambnz.com/
About Taste Pure Nature
B+LNZ’s Taste Pure Nature origin brand is live in the US and China with a digital media campaign to introduce the target market – the “Conscious Foodies” to the provenance of New Zealand beef and lamb. The origin brand is used as a global brand platform to underpin exporters’ marketing programmes and enhance the positioning of New Zealand red meat. It has been developed in partnership with meat processors and marketing companies, farmers and the Government. For more information, click here.