23 Dec 2015

New Zealanders eat less lamb

8:18 pm on 23 December 2015

Lamb may feature on many Christmas menus this year, but Beef and Lamb NZ said peoples' consumption of lamb was continuing to fall.

Rack of lamb

Photo: 123rf

Beef and Lamb NZ chief executive Rod Slater said over the past twenty years people had not been eating as much lamb as they had in the past.

He said was linked to diet, but the price for New Zealand lamb also had not helped.

Mr Slater began his working life as a butcher and saw first hand the changes.

"I've been at the coal face...serving lamb and 20 years ago when working on the shop floor lamb was consumed more on an every day basis than it is now and that is because it was a relatively cheap product.

"I think in those days we were probably consuming about 19kg per year per person, that has now dropped to just under 10kg per person. We know that through the Neilson Home Scanning that we do, so it's been halved almost in terms of the consumption.

Lifestyle changes, outdoor eating and price had all contributed to the change, he said.

Poultry and pork were more common meal choices now, he said.

"In the case of poultry, I can recall when I first started. We only sold poultry at Christmas time as a special occasion for Christmas dinner. The reverse is happened now - we see lamb being sold for Christmas dinner and poultry on a every day basis and that's absolutely price and production related."