Lamb burgers at last – UPDATED

August 19, 2012

It’s taken around three decades but former Trade Minister Mike Moore’s dream of lamb burgers has been realised:

After two years of product development McDonald’s has added New Zealand lamb to its menu, an initiative which has been endorsed by Beef + Lamb NZ.

“After seeing the success of McDonald’s premium Angus beef range, with 2 million kilograms sold since launch, we are thrilled with this new partnership and the potential these products have to get Kiwis eating more New Zealand lamb,” says Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO Rod Slater.

Federated Farmers is also excited by the development:

What McDonald’s is doing here is massive,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“This is about adding value to the lamb we produce because for the first time ever, lamb is to become a permanent menu item in a major family restaurant chain. While others have run ‘limited time’ offers, McDonald’s New Zealand believes it is onto a winner and we agree.

“As a sheep and beef farmer, I know the positive impact McDonald’s involvement with AngusPure has had. Since August 2009, McDonald’s has not only purchased some two million kilograms of AngusPure, it has greatly raised the profile of it as a premier product.

 “This is where things get truly exciting. If lamb works here it may find itself onto menus in other countries; the Middle East and Asia especially.

“New Zealand is already a major supplier of beef as part of McDonald’s global supply chain and it is not a dream to believe lamb could well follow. The prospects are mouth watering.

“The Serious Lamb Burger is a big meal in its own right but to me, it is no different from what’s available at up-market takeaways. This burger is being pitched as an upmarket offering and that is a great position for lamb to be in.

“For the health conscious, the lamb wrap ticks all the boxes and shows the flexibility of lamb as a fulsome meal or as a healthy snack.

“Frankly, we are excited because we can see only upsides from the farmer’s perspective.

“Importantly, to deliver the lamb McDonald’s needs, we are seeing close cooperation from the farm gate, Beef+Lamb as well as multiple processors. This is unity around a value added product and it is as heartening, as it is creative,” Mrs Maxwell concluded.

Mike Moore’s lamb burgers became a bit of a joke, but time has proved him right.

His dream was of lamb burgers in the USA and other overseas markets. The McDonald’s initiative is for a limited time in Australia but aims to be permanent here.

It’s a good start and if it proves popular here could lead to lamb burgers in export markets.

UPDATE:

Fed Farmers’  president Bruce Wills is enthusiastic about this too:

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 American’s 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. . .


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