Much is known about the different cuts of sheepmeat and how to cook them to best suit the preferences of Australian consumers – this is the basis of the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading system. The potential to market different meat products overseas means we need to calibrate the grading system for our international consumers.
Accordingly, DPIRD researchers are contributing to a project that looks into overseas customers’ preferences in order to identify new export opportunities in China and the United States. This sheepmeat research is co-funded by the Sheep Industry Business Innovation project and MLA, and forms part of Sheep CRC’s Quality-based Sheepmeat Value Chains project.
The MSA eating quality protocol will be used and involves consumers rating meat samples for flavour, tenderness, odour, juiciness and overall liking of sheepmeat. Other factors are also measured such as intramuscular fat content (marbling) and meat colour. Meat from lambs and older animals up to two years of age are being used in the study.
The results of this research will help to understand whether overseas consumer preferences differ from the domestic market, and identify opportunities for new markets for sheepmeat overseas, including lamb and yearling sheep — up to two years of age.