7 Mar 2016

Deal sends lamb direct to Spanish supermarket

4:18 pm on 7 March 2016

The country's biggest sheepmeat processor and exporter, Alliance Group, has secured a deal to supply a Spanish supermarket directly with lamb.

Off to market

Off to market Photo: RNZ / Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

The farmer cooperative will be supplying the supermarket chain Mercadonna, which has 1400 stores across Spain and a 26.5 percent share of the food retail market.

Last year, Alliance sent 3000 tonnes of meat to Spain, worth $33 million.

Alliance marketing manager Murray Brown said frozen lamb was being packaged and exported under its new brand Pure South.

The deal is believed to be one of the shortest supply chain links from processor to retailer in the industry.

"Spain is a market that we've always been into, but just in terms of going direct, from packed in origin in New Zealand, we actually pack it to its final point."

Mr Brown said there was no one else along the supply chain, "so it's going direct into retail".

Most of the meat involved was lamb sold in "middle type" cuts for barbequeing. But he said Alliance was also expanding into larger cuts for grilling and roasting.

With a population of 47 million, Spain was "quite a reasonable consumer", he said.

"From a per capita point of view they eat up to 3kg per capita, per year. That's actually quite good in world terms."

Mr Brown said over time Alliance wanted more secure pricing for farmers, and the next development would be the introduction of chilled lamb, once the Pure South brand is firmly established.

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