A new kind of lamb set to spark a renaissance in the global appetite for premium meat has been launched by New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English at a reception in Hong Kong. Te Mana Lamb, the culmination of a decade’s research and development, has put the ‘good fat’ back into the lamb with rich levels of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats.

The lamb is the result of an innovative “Primary Growth Partnership” programme involving Alliance Group, Headwaters and MPI. Known as The Omega Lamb Project, the aim of the programme is to increase the total value of lamb and the share of value captured in New Zealand by developing healthy, high quality branded products.

Peter Russell, General Manager Marketing for Alliance Group, said the Omega Lamb Project was originally conceived to produce less ‘lean’ sheep, able to thrive better in high altitudes, pastures and conditions.

“Te Mana Lamb doesn’t behave like regular lamb when cooking,” he said. “Because the lamb meat is full of ‘good fat’, it has essentially less moisture. That means it doesn’t suffer shrinkage and retains its shape.”

Justine Gilliland, Director Investment Programmes for the Ministry for Primary Industries, viewed the project as part of a bigger picture. “Over time, the programme aims to deliver premiums for our farmers and processors, and raise the value and profitability of New Zealand’s lamb overall.

“This Primary Growth Partnership programme has the potential to add over $400 million in new export earnings, and increase lamb revenues by 34% for adopting farmers.”