Australian lamb, especially branded lamb, is increasingly a part of Japanese culinary culture and its popularity is its affordability compared to other meats.
And while lamb consumption in Japan remains skewed towards the northern island of Hokkaido, consumers in less traditional areas like Tokyo and Osaka are interested in retail lamb for home consumption.
More restaurants are putting lamb on their menus, according to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), with demand shifting to other meats due to the point of difference between lamb and higher value dishes. .
And more and more, more adventurous consumers are interested in lamb for home preparation who are tired of the same chicken and pork repertoire.
Moreover, its low fat and high iron content compared to beef and pork is also winning the taste buds of younger generations.
But Japan has already seen a lamb boom.
Japanese meat producers began importing lamb as an alternative to beef in 2003, following the outbreak of mad cow disease in the United States in 2005.
Mongolian barbecue became a fad, and a year later lamb imports hit an all-time high.
However, lamb consumption declined rapidly thereafter and remained stagnant for the next decade.
Lamb prices well positioned to enter the spring flush
Lamb, mutton at the top of tastes in the USA
MLA Group Chief Strategy and Knowledge Officer Scott Cameron said that unlike the previous boom, this time lamb consumption has grown slowly year on year, with meat making its way into Japanese food culture. .
“Japan has long been an important market for Australian chilled lamb, in fact, in FY 2021, Japan was the fifth largest destination for Australian chilled lamb by value,” Cameron said.
“And although its market share is small in Japan, lamb’s popularity is increasing among young people looking for taste and slightly ‘out of the ordinary’ experiences.
“The key occasions that lamb is eaten include barbecues or picnics, especially during the warmer months.”
He said that although MLA markets Australian lamb under the “True Aussie” brand, there are several individual Australian brands marketed in Japan, each promoting the high quality, integrity and provenance of the product.
“Each has a point of difference and is communicated by individual markings, such as breed or the claim of breeding as grain-fed,” he said.
“Other fast growing opportunities for branded lamb products in markets where category development occurs alongside individual brand development are South Korea, Taiwan and Canada. “
“These are markets with a large affluent consumer base with high levels of meat consumption, but less familiarity with lamb.”
He said opportunities for premium branded lamb are also emerging in China, one of Australia’s largest export markets, but face limited market access with only one Australian factory currently licensed to export. chilled lamb.
Korea is also a strong market, with exports to Korea growing from just 4,500 tonnes of shipped weight (swt) in fiscal 2014 to 15,500 tonnes in fiscal 2021, an impressive growth of 246 tonnes. % in seven years.
Start the day with all the great farming news! Sign up below to receive our daily Farmonline newsletter.
The Story The Taste Grows for Lamb in Japan first appeared on Farm Online.