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Provenance proves best

04 March 2021

Rewind to March 2020 – when most Aussies were focused on ‘flattening the curve’ – red meat brand owners were also dealing with the curve ball COVID‑19 threw at the foodservice sector.

As the country went into lockdown, foodservice sales plummeted and brand owners needed to find new channels for their red meat.

Australia exports almost 75% of its red meat and higher value cuts of meat are mainly consumed through the foodservice sector. So, when COVID‑19 forced a global foodservice shutdown, an oversupply of higher value cuts in Australia needed to be sold to support overall carcase and livestock prices.

MLA reacted quickly to the rapidly changing market, introducing short‑term financial support measures through the CoMarketing Program to help brand owners find new avenues for high value red meat cuts.

Participants received 75% co‑contribution for investment in COVID‑19 eligible activities implemented from March–July 2020, which aimed to boost sales of high value cuts, such as developing direct‑to‑consumer promotions or developing online sales platforms.

Here, red meat brand owners share how they used the COVID‑19 CoMarketing funds to grow demand for red meat during the pandemic.

Linda McKenzie produces Boer goats on her property at Seymour, Victoria.

She created Strathbogie Goat in June 2019, in recognition of the challenges local restaurants faced in sourcing a reliable supply of quality goatmeat.

How was your business impacted by COVID-19?

We’d only been in business for six months but word had spread among local chefs so I had a full order book. In February we processed the goats, the freezer was full of stock – the next day we went into lockdown and every order was cancelled.

With a freezer full of goatmeat and nowhere for it to go, it was utterly devastating.

How did you use the COVID-19 CoMarketing support?

I used the funding to develop a retail goatmeat product and engaged a social media consultant to tell the provenance story of Strathbogie Goat.

I sold the goatmeat product in my local butcher shop, but the real success came when the Victorian Country Market, which home delivers food throughout Victoria, approached me.

I used an MLA recipe as inspiration to create a fig and pistachio stuffed loin specifically for the Victorian Country Market. Before COVID-19, I never used to sell a loin cut and now I’m constantly sold out. 

What were the results?

The results have been fantastic. I’m now selling weekly what I used to sell monthly before the pandemic.

The social media campaign helped tap into the retail market by educating consumers on how to cook goatmeat at home and connect with them through our provenance story.

How will your business be different moving forward?

A blessing in disguise, the pandemic forced us to find new (and successful) markets for our goatmeat brand, so we’ll continue selling to both retail and foodservice markets.

Lessons learned

  • Solve your consumers’ problems by matching your product with a consumer need.
  • Get onboard with social media as it’s an integral part of how consumers make purchase decisions.
  • Tell your provenance story because consumers care where their food comes from.