Australian lamb consumption dips but value holds firm

Terry Sim, January 23, 2023


Domestic lamb consumption and value figures 2022. Source – MLA.

AUSTRALIANS ate slightly less lamb in 2022 than in the previous year and it cost them more, but it doesn’t seem to have affected lamb’s popularity.

Meat & Livestock Australia figures released today show that despite a drop of about 5 percent in annual consumption volume over the past two years, consumer spending on lamb is up year-on-year and has lifted 13pc compared with pre-COVID.

Lamb’s volume and value share of the fresh meat category has remained stable over the past three years and the meat has performed particularly well during the final quarter of 2022, with a volume sales increase of 3.9pc versus same time in 2021 and spending up 6.8pc.

In 2022, the national retail lamb volume was 62.5 million kilograms, down 4.6pc on 2021, while the retail value of domestic sales was 1.14 billion, a rise of 0.2pc.

The average retail price paid per kilogram of lamb went from $17.36/kg in 2021, to $18.26/kg in 2022, an increase of 5.2pc.

MLA domestic marketing manager Graeme Yardy said 2022 was an up-and-down year for supply, which improved later in the year.

“The volume (in 2022) is definitely slightly down, but the increase in the retail price paid is definitely driving the value result, so how much consumers have paid increased.”

Is it lamb’s quality, price or the power of advertising?

Mr Yardy said lamb’s volume/value result is a combination of a number factors.

“Obviously what we are trying to do with the advertising is make people realise that lamb is worth paying more for and reminding how good it is so that when they do come to retail and are confronted with a higher price they still want to buy it.

“Yes, we might have some people that are buying it less often, but overall if you look at the amount the price has gone up, we could have probably seen more decline in the volume,” he said.

“That’s where we see the strength of what we do with the advertising in that you are more loyal and even as the price goes up, you are still willing to pay for it.

“You still see that the quality is there and the taste, the flavor, the experience that you are getting, is still worth it, even at a higher price,” Mr Yardy said.

“We want lamb to be seen as special, but not out of reach.

“It’s not to be just for special occasions, but we just want people to see that the quality is worth paying for and that’s what we believe when we see the value going up, even though the volume has declined slightly; that’s what that says to me.”


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