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CHILLED LAMB FOR CHINESE MARKET

Jacinta Bolsenbroek
03-Jun-2017 8:00pm

WESTERN Australian meat processor V&V Walsh will launch its Amelia Park chilled lamb range in China this month.

While it had been exporting chilled and frozen beef and lamb products into the Chinese market since being granted its licence, it was looking forward to marketing the Amelia Park range.

The company’s newly-appointed supply chain manager Dale Miles said they were already exporting small volumes of chilled lamb into the country to test the market.

“We will continue to send frozen products too,” he said.

Mr Miles said the focus was to export quality chilled products into high-end retail and food services.

“We are focusing on Shanghai and Beijing for the moment,” he said.

Director Peter Walsh and a team from V&V Walsh will travel to China to launch the branded, chilled product.

“Although we have had some product going in there, the product was an unbranded generic chilled product,” Mr Miles said.

“We are now focused on getting the Amelia Park chilled lamb product into retail and food services.”

In response to opportunities emerging in China and other markets, V&V Walsh created the position of supply chain manager last November, partly funded by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia WA (DAFWA).

Mr Miles, who is based in Bunbury and is a former market analyst with the Northern Beef Futures team at DAFWA, will link the company’s marketing strategy to the producer end of the chain through improved collaboration.

He said it was refreshing to return to the private sector and he was looking forward to working with producers, grower groups, agents and the WA sheep industry.

“I was appointed as the supply chain manager, predominantly on the lamb side of the business,” Mr Miles said.

“We want to grow the procurement and the supply base for the lamb business, particularly with the focus of the emerging chilled lamb market we are developing for China.”

The independent launch is supported by MLA and the WA Trade offices in Shanghai and Beijing.

Mr Miles said the targeted launch would be followed up with another one in October with their business partners, customers and State and Federal government representatives.

He said the company was taking advantage of its unique chilled licence to develop the supply chain.

“We are taking a considered approach – supply is tight this time of year and we have to manage that effectively,” he said.

“Chilled lamb has been a long time in development, the biggest challenge was the low understanding of the value of chilled lamb in the China market.

“But the testing in the market of Australia chilled lamb was well received.”

Last year the Walsh family-owned business officially opened its biggest processing facility in Inner Mongolia.

Greg and Peter Walsh, who launched a joint venture with Grand Farm, China’s biggest importer of red meat from Australia and New Zealand, opened the abattoir in Xilinhot.

V&V Walsh signed a deal with Grand Farm in August 2014 for the long-term supply of beef and sheep meat into China, a market which had never accepted chilled lamb imports previously.

The processor was later granted its Chinese export licence, to export both chilled and frozen beef and lamb products to China in mid-December 2015.

The processor exports a range of products including, chilled, vacuum-packed beef, lamb and mutton.

“Since we got our licence, we have been doing (frozen and chilled) beef and lamb,” Peter Walsh said.

“We send a lot of samples over and it takes time to build.”

Mr Walsh said with the recent access of chilled lamb into the Chinese market, granted to New Zealand, gave the market more exposure to chilled lamb, which was good for trade.

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