Healthier, tastier lamb faces the ultimate test
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Has a major research project succeeded in producing quality South Australian lamb that is not only healthier for the consumer, but also tastier?
That will be put to the test at a special dinner tonight (Wednesday 30 April) being held by the project's research partners: the University of Adelaide, the South Australian Government, TAFE SA and industry partner Feast! Fine Foods.
To be held at Graduates Restaurant, TAFE SA Regency Campus, the dinner brings together members of government, business and academia to taste and score the new lamb varieties on offer. Among those to try the new lamb will be South Australia's Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister, the Hon. Rory McEwen.
The new lamb is the result of a three-year, $250,000 research project called "Value-adding South Australian Lamb", funded through the Premier's Science and Research Fund and led by University of Adelaide researcher Dr Zbigniew ("Zibby") Kruk from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.
Building on the University's expertise in using diet to obtain optimum results from livestock, and in flavour and sensory testing, the research project - based at the Roseworthy Campus - has aimed to develop Australian lamb products that are recognised as being both unique and of superior quality.
"Despite growing consumer demand for and awareness of lamb, the market both within Australia and overseas has not yet reached its full potential. This is partly because the characteristic flavour of lamb is not fully appreciated by many consumers, especially those in overseas markets," Dr Kruk says.
"We're hoping that the results of our project will open the possibility of targeting new markets, giving consumers a new appreciation for lamb."
According to the Food Industry ScoreCard, sheep and lamb meat is South Australia's number one food meat for export, earning $310 million in revenue in 2006-07.
Overall, sheep and lamb meat earned $628 million in revenue for South Australia, second only to beef. But at a local level, sheep and lamb meat products were fourth in sales in the State, behind beef, pork and chicken.
"Value-adding South Australian Lamb is an exciting project for the State's food industry, with great potential to generate increased demand for lamb domestically and in growing export markets," Mr McEwen says.
"With the globalisation of food markets and more discerning consumers, it's important for South Australian producers to find a competitive edge. We can do that through improved quality of meat, which can only come through the kind of innovation and collaborative effort this project has demonstrated," he says.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Discipline of Agricultural and Animal Science
School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
The University of Adelaide
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Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
The University of Adelaide
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