Beef Central news briefs – 10 Nov 2015

Beef Central, 09/11/2015
  • Australians kings of the world’s carnivores, according to Forbes
  • Food fraud remains a global threat
  • Aldi’s retail share grows, as supermarket wars hot-up
  • Silver Fern Farms joint venture with Shanghai Maling
  • NZ beef export returns exceed sheepmeat for first time in 20 years
  • Last chance for tickets to Qld’s Drought Assistance dinner
  • NSW export award to Atron
  • Russia suspends Indian red meat plants over FMD scare
  • Mandatory CCTV in UK abattoirs
  • Changing Chinese diets
  • One in three vegetarians admit to eating meat when drunk
  • New products: Lamb bacon ‘on trend’ in US
  • Harvey Beef trials innovative data system


Australians kings of the world’s carnivores, according to Forbes

What Countries Eat the Most Meat Each Year? We tend to think that South American countries like Argentina and Brazil are the big meat eaters. They still are on beef, however in 2013, across all of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, Australia comes first, according to Forbes magazine, when all meat is taken into account. Forbes said in 2013, the average Australian ate 92kg of poultry, beef and veal, pork and sheepmeat. The US was in second position with 90.9kg followed by Israel with 86kg/capita. Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, renowned for their beef consumption, come next on the list with around 85, 83 and 78kg respectively. New Zealanders only accounted for a measly 74kg. China’s consumption of the prescribed meat protein amounted to 48kg.


Food fraud remains a global threat

UK professor Chris Elliott, who was tasked by the British government to review the country’s food supply chain in the light of the European horsemeat scandal of 2013, has warned that unless the issue is taken seriously by authorities and the police, it is likely to happen again. While the European horsemeat scandal did not directly pose a threat to public health, Prof Elliott warned this might not be the case next time. “With organised gangs becoming attracted to food fraud, we must act now to prevent public health threats,” he told a recent conference. He said the horsemeat scandal in 2013 involved the disappearance of up to 50,000 horses across Europe. Following the financial meltdown in 2008, many people could no longer afford to keep their animals, adding that many are likely to have ended up in the food system. He noted that food fraud is now an organised and global criminal enterprise involving gangs such as the Mafia and Central American drug cartels. In the wake of the 2013 scandal, the UK Food Standards Agency set up the food crime unit to spearhead operations against food fraud.


Aldi’s retail share grows, as supermarket wars hot-up

aldi-logoAccording to IBIS World’s recent 2015 Supermarkets and Grocery Stores in Australia Report, Aldi has grown to a market share of 8.2pc of Australia’s grocery sector. Among other retailers, Metcash (IGA and Super IGA) currently command an 8.5pc share; Woolworths (including Thomas Dux) 41.9pc and Wesfarmers (Coles and BI-LO) 31.7pc. Competition in the retail supermarket sector remains aggressive. Throughout 2015 Aldi has been testing consumer reception to stores which include extended fresh produce ranges, improved product display and new layouts. The trial focuses on new layouts to improve store navigation, how products are displayed while providing better access to fresh produce bay areas and reducing checkout wait times.


Silver Fern Farms joint venture with Shanghai Maling

silver-fern-farmsShareholders in New Zealand’s largest meat processor Silver Fern Farms have voted strongly in favour of supporting a bid by China’s leading meat processor, Shanghai Maling Aquarius Co for its proposed 50pc joint venture investment in Silver Fern. In mid-October, 82pc of shareholders voted in favour, after the board of Silver Fern Farms urged shareholders to accept the deal. The farmer co-operative member vote takes the process one step closer to completion. The NZ$261m investment will provide significant financial capability to accelerate the company’s global ‘plate to pasture’ strategy, shareholders were told. Shanghai Maling also boasts extensive retail and distribution assets in China, and the broader Bright Food Group will provide “a unique opportunity to establish Silver Fern Farms as the premium red meat brand in what is the world’s fastest growing protein market.” Shanghai Maling shareholders were due to vote on the deal on October 30 and if in agreement, the companies will seek regulatory approvals from NZ and Chinese authorities. This process is expected to take several months with the new entity expected to come into effect between March and June next year.

Meanwhile, NZ’s second largest processor Alliance has unveiled plans to shareholders at a recent meeting to significantly transform the co-operative with NZ$125 million of investment over the next three years and 109 projects initiated to cut NZ$85m in costs. CEO David Surveyor said the plans included a push for Alliance’s branded products and working with trade partners to promote its meat to retailers, food service and restaurants. Mr Surveyor said Alliance was lagging behind Silver Fern with its branded product strategy but proposed changes included NZ trials starting soon that allowed consumers to order meat online, for home-delivery the same day. He outlined what he called a “virtuous loop” to improve profitability from greater efficiency and lower costs on one side and product development, brands, sales and marketing on the other. Plans are afoot to improve boning room yields, including the $8 million installation of automated primal cutting machines at two plants.


NZ beef export returns exceed sheepmeat for first time in 20 years

New Zealand’s beef export returns have this year reached a record high, overtaking sheep export returns for the first time in two decades. The results were released by Beef+Lamb NZ to mark the end of the 2014­15 meat export season, which concluded on 30 September. The levy board noted that sheep exports were constrained by supply, whilst beef production increased over the period. This was due to strong US demand and low dairy prices. Beef export returns summed NZ$3.16 billion, 38pc above 13/14.


Endeavour Foundation big winners from Qld lotfeeders’ charity run

Barb Madden visits the team at the Endeavour Foundation's Kingaroy Kitchen

Barb Madden visits the team at the Endeavour Foundation’s Kingaroy Kitchen

In a follow-up to this earlier item published on Beef Central, Queensland feedlot operators Barb and Don Madden have hit the pavement for the New York Marathon knowing that the money they have raised for charity will benefit the Endeavour Foundation in Kingaroy.

After receiving many entries from worthy not-for-profits in the South Burnett region, Barb and Don from Smithfield Cattle Co, along with a group of business supporters have donated the $5200 raised to the Kingaroy Kitchen, which is an initiative of Endeavour Foundation.

“The assistance this organisation provides to people with disabilities is truly remarkable,” Barb Madden said. Kingaroy Kitchen is owned and operated by Endeavour Foundation and provides employment and training opportunities for people with a disability in the South Burnett region. It offers a range of gourmet quality foods made from genuine home-style recipes and using local produce.


Last chance for tickets to Qld’s Drought Assistance dinner

Australian singer songwriter legend Graeme Connors will headline the Queensland Rural Press Club’s special drought relief fundraising dinner at Parliament House in Brisbane on Friday night, 13 November. It’s not too late for readers to book tickets for the fundraising event, promising a great night of food, drink, and entertainment on the Speaker’s Green at Queensland Parliament House. All proceeds from the dinner and charity auction led by Cyril Close from TopX Roma will go to support rural charities including the Western Queensland Drought Appeal, Queensland Country Women’s Association drought appeal and Buy A Bale. Tickets: $150 per person or $1500 per table of ten. Book via Rural Press Club website


NSW export award to Atron

Beef exporter Atron Enterprises was named the winner of the prestigious 2015 Premier’s NSW Export Award for Agribusiness recently. The awards recognise and reward the top exporting talents in NSW, this year attracting entries from 85 companies in 12 industry-specific categories. Up against some of the state’s most innovative and successful exporters, it is a significant achievement for Atron to be honoured again for its exporting success. Since the company’s establishment in 2007, Atron has enjoyed consistent success at the awards with 2015 marking the seventh consecutive year that the company has been recognised for its contributions to exports. Atron earned the Agribusiness Award in 2012 and 2013, followed by the Regional Exporter award in 2014.

As state winner, Atron will now become a finalist at the 53rd Australian National Export Awards, bringing together finalists from six states and territories, to be held in Melbourne on 27 November.


Russia suspends Indian red meat plants over FMD scare

Russia has reportedly suspended all imports of buffalo meat from India after inspectors detected Foot and Mouth Disease in a shipment from the last Indian plant that was still eligible to export to Russia. Late last year Russian officials found India as a potentially large meat supplier, after banning imports from Australia and other traditional suppliers for political reasons. It approved four Indian buffalo meat plants for export to serve the country, but imports from three of these were soon suspended due to concerns over FMD and significant trade in buffalo meat to Russia did not materialise. It’s understood that Indian buffalo meat companies had a strong presence at World Food Moscow trade show, even though only one plant was still eligible to ship to Russia at that time. It has since been suspended.


Mandatory CCTV in UK abattoirs

More than 100 UK members of parliament signed a motion recently calling for installation of CCTV with independent monitoring of the footage to be made mandatory for all UK slaughterhouses in a bid to safeguard animal welfare. A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said there were as yet no plans to introduce regulations on the matter, saying that 90pc of the beef, pork, lamb and poultry produced Britain was from slaughterhouses that already had CCTV in place. The new Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 come into force next month, further improving the protection of animals while maintaining strict welfare rules in slaughterhouses and allowing for tougher enforcement action. The campaign for mandatory CCTV with independent monitoring has attracted widespread public support in the UK and is being backed by its slaughterhouse vets and other groups.


Changing Chinese diets

china-beefA changing Chinese diet is exerting a powerful influence on domestic and international agriculture according to Richard Ferguson, an advisor with Price Waterhouse Coopers and an author of a new report on the market. China’s continued shift towards consumerism means the outlook for soft food stuffs is relatively bright, he says. In 1971 the average total calorific intake per person in China was 1863 calories, compared to 3025 in the UK. By 2011 the Chinese average intake had reached 3074 calories. The biggest change he says has been meat consumption or animal calories which have increased by well over 400pc per person per day since 1971 and more than doubled since 1991. China has left self-sufficiency behind and has become more dependent on food stock imports of soya bean and corn, in particular. Its domestic agricultural market is shifting towards meat production as well as higher value fruit and vegetables, he said. A number of challenges are posing a threat to domestic supply, including diminished farmland, polluted water supplies, overuse of fertilisers and ongoing land right disputes. Self-sufficiency is no longer a practical policy goal for China, the report said.


Scholarship offers $5000 a year for students studying ag degrees

A scholarship that supports students studying agriculture-related degrees at university is taking applications for 2016. Applications for the Horizon Scholarship are open to first-year university students and need to be submitted by 19 February 2016. An initiative of the Rural Industries R&D Corporation in partnership with industry sponsors, The Scholarship, provides $5000 per year for the duration of a student’s university degree.

To be eligible, students must be entering their first year of university and studying a degree related to agriculture, such as agricultural science, rural science, livestock/animal science, veterinary science or agribusiness and plant science. Students must also have started their tertiary studies no longer than two years after leaving high school. Recipients will be selected on the basis of their commitment to a career in agriculture, as well as their leadership potential and high school academic record. Application forms can be downloaded here website at


Burger King to launch in India, without beef

No doubt reflecting the religious sensitivities in India at present, Burger King opened its first outlet in India last month with an entirely beef-free menu. Burger King India has opted to drop beef and pork from its menu in order to respect the religious practices of the Hindus and Muslims that make up most of the country’s population. It will reportedly offering a chicken Whopper, a vegetable Whopper and a mutton Whopper. After Burger King announced the news on their official Facebook page, fast food lovers in India criticised it for not offering beef and pork Whoppers. According to the reports Burger King plans on opening 12 outlets in India over the next three months – six in Delhi and six in Mumbai where beef bans have already been in place.


One in three vegetarians admit to eating meat when drunk

New research by a money-saving website in the UK has revealed that more than one third of vegetarians eat meat while under the influence of alcohol. Furthermore, one in three of these ‘vegetarians’ revealed that they did so every time they were drunk on a night out. ‘Kebab meat’ and ‘beef burgers’ were voted the most common meat for vegetarians to give into when drunk, at 39pc and 34pc respectively.


McDonald’s to offer first-ever organic burger, in Germany

McDonald’s Corp is offering its first-ever 100 percent Certified Organic beef hamburger for a limited time in Germany, as a growing number of global diners demand food that is more natural and less processed. For the past two months McDonald’s has offered “McB” burgers, made with organic beef sourced from certified organic farms in Germany and Austria. The move from the world’s biggest restaurant chain by revenue comes as it is revamping food-sourcing practices as part of new chief executive Steve Easterbrook’s effort to transform McDonald’s into a “modern, progressive burger company.”

“We’ve made a great effort to secure sufficient quantities of meat which satisfies the organic requirements and our own quality claims,” said Holger Beeck, chief executive of McDonald’s Germany.


Smallstock abattoir Proposed for Burke in NSW

Media reports last month suggested that an investment company, Capra Developments, has sought approval from the Bourke Shire Council to build a smallstock abattoir in Bourke, NSW.

With an investment portfolio of up to $60 million, Capra Developments hopes the abattoir, when completed, will be able to process up to 6000 head (sheep, lambs and goats) a day. The proposed site is 16km north of Bourke and developers hope to complete the project by the end of 2016. Tancred Brothers built a plant in Bourke before WW11 and ran the plant in to the 1980s before it closed.


New products: Lamb bacon ‘on trend’ in US

lamb baconNobody loves their bacon more than US consumers, and now the lamb industry is looking to move in on the segment with the release of a new lamb bacon product in the US. Superior Farms, a major US distributor of domestically-produced lamb as well as imported lamb from Australia and New Zealand, is behind the product, which is being directed at both food service and retail users. Beef bacon has made some inroads in US food circles over recent years, but this is the first time lamb bacon has had a presence.

Superior Farms recently earned “Best New Product” awards for its lamb bacon at the International Foodservice Show in New York and at the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo in Los Angeles. Cured and hardwood smoked, Superior Farms’ lamb bacon is sold in slabs that can sliced or diced for foodservice applications. The product is made from lamb breast and is Halal Certified. Lamb bacon also contains fewer calories and less fat than pork bacon, the company said.


Does consumer loyalty count at retail?

A study from Roy Morgan Research suggests that most Australian shoppers are not particularly loyal to one supermarket. Research found that 77pc of Australian shoppers visit at least two supermarkets over any given four-week period. IGA shoppers are the most loyal with 30pc of people who mostly shop at IGA. Those who mostly shop at Aldi are the least loyal with only 7pc exclusively purchasing from the chain. Woolworths’ shoppers are slightly more loyal than Coles’ shoppers, with 25pc remaining loyal. Some 24pc of Coles customers are committed to the chain.


Harvey Beef trials innovative data system

Six Western Australian cattle producers have taken part in an innovative trial set up by Harvey Beef which allows them access to data and statistics about the cattle they supply through a secure online portal system. The portal trial will take some weeks to sort-out teething problems followed by a period of consultation before the system is made available to all Harvey beef suppliers.

Harvey Beef said the producers will have access to information and trends in their herd including MSA grading data dating back to January 2014, payment and invoice information, analysis of sex, dentition, muscle score, meat colour, fat colour and fat depth along with other commercially beneficial information.


Vegan pizza plan stalls

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) proposed to Domino’s Pizza in the US recently that they add vegan cheese and meat options to its menu. Domino’s shareholders overwhelmingly rejected the proposal by an estimated 43.2 million votes. Less than 1pc of shareholders supported the idea, despite PETA being an important shareholder in Domino’s Pizzas. Domino’s has over 5000 stores in the US but reported there had been no sign of consumer demand in this direction.




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