US Meat Export Federation sees room for more lamb

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 12

The US Meat Export Federation seeks to boost lamb consumption in Taiwan, after last year saw mutton imports double follwing the lifting of a ban in September 2016.

Lamb imports reached 4.5 tonnes in the first four months of the year, compared with 0.9 tonnes in the same period last year, as lamb gained popularity, especially affluent diners, federation senior marketing manager Alex Sun (孫開聖) told reporters in Taipei yesterday.

US lamb is more expensive than US beef, because sheep need more land and only 1 percent of the country’s output is exported, Sun said.

Lamb dishes are therefore more expensive — for example, Grand Mayfull Hotel Taipei’s (美福飯店) Italian restaurant, GMT Gourmet Kitchen, sells a lamb lunch set for NT$2,500, he said, adding that the charge is higher than the average lunch set at other five-star facilities, but lamb delicacies are competitive.

The hotel’s affiliate, Mayfull Food Corp (美福食集), is Taiwan’s third-largest meat importer and distributor.

Taiwanese on average consume 1kg of lamb each year, compared with 5kg of beef and 37kg of pork, suggesting room for growth, Sun said, adding that he federation has teamed up with the hotel, whose Chinese and Japanese restaurants also serve lamb.

Lamb is produced in every US state year-round, especially in large states such as Texas, California, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota, the federation said.

Sheep are herded naturally and are given no hormones, it said, adding that farmers must overcome a variety of climates and terrains to create a sheep-friendly environment.