Gaining an Aussie slice of the American pie

13 November 2015

The US market place is huge - 319 million people consuming an average 95 kilograms of meat each every year. It has 12 cities (including nearby Toronto in Canada) which have populations greater than Sydney (more than 4.6 million people).

So how does MLA, with a levy investment - US$1 million for beef and US$2 million for lamb - seek to gain Australian producers a bigger foothold in a market of that size?

MLA's International Business Manager in the US, David Pietsch, said as domestic meat dominates shelves and menus (90% for beef, 50% for lamb), gaining attention and support can be challenging.

"However, within the consumer trends - such as the “natural” trend, niche proteins like lamb and grassfed beef are growing in popularity, and Australia is well positioned to capture some of the benefits," he said.

"From Boston in the north east, Miami in the south of Florida, and round the San Francisco bay area in the west, you'll see growing examples of grassfed beef and lamb on menus and in retail stores. In most part, it is being sought as a perceived healthy alternative or to complement more conventionally-produced grainfed meat products."

Here are some of MLA's recent marketing activities in the US:

Joy riding: Tailgating is a practice of cooking on a gas cooker on the tailgate of your vehicle outside a sporting event. MLA instigated and ran the Stop & Shop tailgates (Stop & Shop is a major retailer in the north east for Australian beef and lamb) – a program of four tailgating events in the carparks of stores in the Boston area during October. This helped achieve store sales increases for Aussie lamb and beef of an average of 9% across four stores for three weeks. MLA butcher Doug Piper teamed up with a Boston Patriots' blogger tailgate event and broke down a carcase and cooked up some chops prior to a Patriots' football game, where thousands were "tailgating" in the car park.

Immerse yourself: MLA hosted 16 chefs at a one-day educational immersion at the Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Providence, Rhode Island on 20 October. Significant leads have emerged for grassfed beef and lamb with a regional retail chain, two universities and a regional foodservice chain.

Holiday rescue:  MLA teamed up with Massachusetts’ local TV network NESN and their show The Dining Playbook to run a consumer competition over the holidays. There will be a grand prize winner of a chef-catered holiday dinner party for up to 10 people announced on 19 December. Check out the campaign at www.aussielambrescueme.com

Christmas cooking: An advertising campaign is running in Fine Cooking magazine, with a readership of 1.1 million, during the holiday season.

Targeting trade:  New messaging has been developed to connect the Australian story and the provenance of our beef and lamb with the US foodservice industry. Advertisements are appearing in Plate, Flavor & The Menu, FSR, Food Service Director magazines.

Taste tempters: 50 new consumer recipes have been developed for these campaigns, featuring on-trend consumer focused recipes that use minimal ingredients for maximum impact. Check them out at www.australian-lamb.com and www.australian-beef.com.

Follow MLA’s marketing campaigns in North America on Facebook.

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