2016 Australian lamb consumption figures demonstrate resilience

30 November 2016

While per capita lamb consumption had been slowly declining since the beginning of the millennium, it has in fact stabilised since 2012 and averaged 9.5kg per capita over the past five years.

The stabilisation in per capita consumption is an encouraging sign for the Australian domestic market, with indicative weighted average retail prices rising for three consecutive years now, and the consumer has been able to resist those rises.

In fact, the current average retail price ($14.51/kg) is very close to the record highs of 2011 ($14.62/kg) and, per capita consumption is presently 9.7kg, up 8% from where it was the last time prices were at similar levels to now. This is indeed a positive indication of the present strength of the domestic market, relative to some export destinations.

Given lamb’s relatively high price point at the retail level, and provided there are no economic downturns, per capita consumption is forecast to remain steady for the foreseeable future.

This means that with underlying population growth, the total volume consumed in Australia is forecast to edge above 240,000 tonnes cwt by 2020, which will account for 46% of Australia’s lamb production.

A full synopsis on the impact for the Australian lamb industry will be covered in the 2017 MLA Sheep Industry Projections, to be launched 6 December 2016.

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