RAPIDLY rising demand for lamb in the US is proving a major benefit to Australian and New Zealand producers as sheepmeat consumption levels rebound to levels not seen since for almost 20 years.
Len Steiner, a US-based economic consultant to the food industry, told the MLA’s global briefing in Brisbane on Monday that US domestic production was continuing to slide, creating significant opportunities for the world's two major sheepmeat exporting nations.
In the peak 1990-91 period, consumption topped more than 400 million pounds (181,437 tonnes). The stark difference (as shown on the graph) is a that time the US was producing about 350 million pounds (158,757t) of that production.
In 2017 US consumption has almost again reached 400 million pounds but US production has slumped to only about 150 million pounds (68,038t).
The figures are particular encouraging the sheepmeat industry given the 323 US population is consuming on average little over 1kg of lamb a year. That compares to stable 9.5kg average in Australia over the past five years.
According to MLA, about 46 per cent or 240,000 tonnes of lamb, is consumed in Australia.
MLA is now gearing up for its major Australia Day promotion, which has very successfully attached lamb to the national holiday on January 26.