Hot shoulder for SILERE alpine origin merino

The development of an oyster shoulder cut of SILERE alpine origin merino lamb won a category of last month’s NZ Food Awards and congratulations from the Minister this week.

Congratulating SILERE alpine origin merino (AOM) for picking up the KPMG Export Innovation Award at the 2014 New Zealand Food Awards last month, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy noted the product was developed through a joint venture by the New Zealand Merino Company Limited and Silver Fern Farms, as part of the New Zealand Sheep Industry Transformation  (NZSTX) programme. NZSTX has received Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) funding from the Government.

“SILERE alpine origin merino is a premium meat brand which is being successfully sold in domestic and international markets. It is part of a range of initiatives in the NZSTX programme to add value to merino growers and New Zealand’s sheep industry.”

Speaking at this week’s New Zealand Innovator Awards, the Minister said this and another PGP recipient Precision Seafood Harvesting’s scooping of the NZIA Supreme this week show that “PGP programmes are already delivering major benefits and will play a big part in achieving our goal of doubling the value of primary sector exports by 2025.”Presenting the award is Ian Proudfoot (left),  KPMG head of agribusiness (left) to Olivia Egerton of Alpine Origin Merino.

Launched three years ago, AOM’s vision was to develop a premium product for the world’s most discerning diners.

Initially prototyped in domestic markets, the programme is now gaining momentum exporting into five markets: the US, United Arab Emirates, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper talks of taking the high country story to the world and says the markets are growing in the right direction.

“Domestically, we are 28 percent above last season in the year to date. Internationally, we are approaching a key window. China is expected to buy more aggressively for their winter period  traditionally a higher period of consumption and we expect sales to gather momentum following our launch last month into the Middle East and Dubai.

“We also continue to grow the market in the US where there is an established market for niche, premium products.

The New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge says that AOM growers have committed to the development of the programme for their long-term sustainability.

“Their hard work to deliver the very best quality product has resulted in SILERE alpine origin merino entering markets and growing market share.”

A recent report by NZIER shows that the Primary Growth Partnership could return up to $6.4 billion to the New Zealand economy by 2025, and up to $11.1b if the aspirational stretch of programmes is realised, the innovations are taken up widely and all the R&D is successful.


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