A report from specialist food and agribusiness bank Rabobank says the biggest opportunities for the meat industry lie in the emerging economies of Asia and the Middle East.
The report on New Zealand meat and its prospects after the global financial crisis has found that consumers in the country's largest export markets, Europe and the United States, are eating cheaper and smaller cuts.
It says the only way the industry will be able to lift exports is by increasing meat consumption in emerging markets, like China, India and the Middle East.
Rabobank senior analyst Hayley Moynihan says this could result in 21% more sheepmeat and almost 15% more beef being consumed globally by 2019.
But she says identifying the relevant groups of consumers and establishing distribution channels in those markets is likely to be difficult.
Ms Moynihan says those emerging markets will compliment, rather than replace, existing high-value export meat markets.