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The story of Australian red meat shines at Ekka 2023

25 August 2023

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) took the opportunity to engage with the broader community and share the story of the Australian red meat industry at the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) – the state’s annual agricultural show – last week. The Ekka is one of many MLA events and initiatives being leveraged to raise awareness and link with consumers about the story of Australian red meat.

Visitors interacted with staff and had the chance to speak to Red Meat Ambassadors at the MLA Australian Good Meat stand. A highlight was the Australian beef and lamb paddock-to-plate story, an immersive 360-degree virtual reality tour that transported visitors right to the farm. Each tour was approximately seven minutes of an immersive experience and offered an up-close look at Aussie beef and lamb, along with insights into why Australia produces the greenest and cleanest red meat in the world.

"A key aim of these virtual reality videos is to share the great stories around environmental sustainability, our traceability systems, and the nutritional attributes of Australian red meat,” Samantha Jamieson, MLA Group Stakeholder Collaboration Manager said.

The Paddock to Plate Stories were developed as a community engagement tool to educate Australians about the provenance of their food and showcase the production systems we have in place to ensure the best quality red meat in the world. The videos featured various aspects of the beef and lamb supply chains including producers, feedlot managers, saleyards, transport, processing facility, butchers and chefs.

The Paddock to Plate stories were developed in collaboration with experts both within and outside the industry to ensure accuracy. Ms Jamieson shared some insight into the process of developing the stories.

“MLA worked to ensure the messages these videos delivered were authentic and representative of the industry itself. These are real people at the coalface, volunteering their time, and passionate about sharing the industry’s story with the community."

Over the nine days of the Ekka, 1,101 surveys were collected which revealed that prior to visiting the Australian Good Meat stand, 58% of attendees admitted they had limited knowledge about the Australian red meat industry. After watching the immersive videos and speaking with the Red Meat Ambassadors, 89% said they now possessed a solid understanding of the industry, with their knowledge ranging from good to excellent.

Approximately 3,240 attendees engaged with the VR experience each day of the Ekka. A team of 24 MLA representatives and five Red Meat Ambassadors also distributed around 1,490 Red Meat, Green Facts booklets.

From our community sentiment research, we know that approximately 1 in 2 people are keen to learn more about the Australian red meat industry, and the more people know about our industry, our research demonstrates the more someone knows about the red meat industry, the better their perceptions of the industry, which leads to more trust in the industry.  Given this strong correlation between knowledge and trust, this is a major reason why MLA invests in such events and activities at the Ekka.