Korean consumers bought 1.5 tonnes of Australian lamb in just 35 minutes after an advertisement was placed on Korean television last month.
The ad to promote Australian lamb was part of a marketing strategy by Meat and Livestock Australia and shown on the NS Home Shopping network in Korea.
MLA’s Korean regional manager, Michael Finucan, says it serves as an encouraging sign for Australia’s lamb exports.
“It was a great outcome,” Mr Finucan told the ABC.
“We’re trying to raise the attention that there is a lot of good quality lamb available, and it is becoming a lot more popular, particularly with the younger generation.”
The televised feature showed Australian lamb being cooked using a variety of Korean marinades and methods.
Mr Finucan cautions there is still some way to go to win over a historically sheep meat shy market.
“Our challenge in Korea is that there’s longstanding negative perceptions around sheep meat.
“Historically, over time, they’ve had mutton (and) lower-grade product. Koreans coming out of the war probably had some of that product,” he said.
Potential for long-term growth
“We’re trying to get people to try lamb and get over those taste and smell perceptions.”
While it may currently be small in volume, the lamb market is dominated by Australia, which has 98 per cent of the market with only New Zealand for competition.
Mr Finucan says as consumers become more accustomed to lamb, there is real potential for long-term growth.
“Whenever I talk to exporters, they like the Korean market because they take the shoulder cuts, which helps,” he said.
“We have very good market access on sheep meat and with the Free Trade Agreement hopefully coming in by the end of the year, we will see that tariff reduced over the next 10 years.”
Trust for Australian products
Televised home shopping enjoys a large domestic audience in Korea, with approximately 100,000 items sold through networks per day.
Mr Finucan says the audience there trusts Australian products, but still needs further convincing of sheep meat itself.
“We’re trying to raise the attention that there is a lot of good quality lamb available, and it is becoming a lot more popular, particularly with the younger generation.
“It’s about getting them to try it, enjoy it and then consume more of it more regularly.”
This is the ad that gave Koreans a taste for Australian lamb:
Source: ABC Rural