While the majority of American Lamb is consumed in the US market, the American Lamb Board (ALB) also works with the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to monitor trade issues, seek opportunities, and fund educational activities and promotions in key export markets. By working with the US Meat Export Federation, your Checkoff dollars tap into the expertise of international meat marketing experts. Greg Ahart from Superior Farms currently represents the ALB on the USMEF Board of Directors.
In 2016, US Lamb became eligible for export to Taiwan after being out of the market since 2003. During the 13-year absence, the market had access to Australian and New Zealand lamb but had forgotten about the positive attributes of American Lamb. Given US lamb’s reputation for flavorful, tender meat without the gamey taste there is real potential to grow demand for U.S. lamb in Taiwan.
Recently ALB worked with USMEF to reintroduce US Lamb into the Taiwanese market through a series of tasting luncheons with the theme Dig into the Hidden Gem in Taiwan. Three tastings, funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the ALB, were held at the Grand Mayfull Hotel in Taipei and featured dishes from local Taiwanese, Japanese and Italian restaurants. Cuts of U.S. lamb were on display for the journalists and food industry leaders during the tastings and introductory video created by ALB was shared with attendees to provide a clear overview of the U.S. lamb industry.
Over ten journalists attended each luncheon, resulting in extensive coverage of U.S. lamb in Taiwanese newspapers, social media posts and television news. One of the attendees, who has nearly 96,000 followers on Facebook, live-streamed a discussion about the tastings and her impressions of U.S. lamb. She also demonstrated how she cooked US lamb at home in a way that was inspired by one of the chefs at the tastings.
The tasting luncheons led Mayfull to highlight U.S. lamb in its supermarkets as well as its rapidly expanding online marketplace. USMEF’s efforts to grow demand for U.S. lamb in Taiwan are focused on re-educating consumers about the product, which was absent from the market for 13 years. In 2017, USMEF showcased U.S. lamb products to retailers and foodservice operators at the Taipei International Food Show – the beginning of a U.S. lamb re-introduction effort.
According to USMEF the annual per capita consumption of lamb in Taiwan is about 2.2 pounds. USMEF is working to put U.S. lamb in front of consumers to make them aware that U.S. lamb has great flavor and superior qualities. U.S. lamb had little exposure for more than a decade, so it takes time to build up the market and establish a positive image.