7th April 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | email@example.com | @foodtickernz
Beef + Lamb New Zealand has launched a new website seeking to distinguish the sustainability of New Zealand farming from practices abroad and promote and the health benefits of eating red meat.
Launched against a backdrop of a fast-growing alternative protein sector, and increased consumer concerns around issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and water quality, the website, Making Meat Better, aimed to make it “easier for Kiwis to find the facts about the production and consumption of beef and lamb”.
The farmer-owned industry organisation representing New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers said the website brought together independently verified facts and insights about beef and lamb from a health, nutrition and environmental perspective.
Chief executive, Sam McIvor, said a lot of what people hear about red meat production was based on international research and overseas farming systems, whereas New Zealand was “a model for how to produce healthy red meat in a sustainable way”.
“It’s important New Zealanders have access to the facts about how we produce meat in this country and what that means for their health and the health of our environment,” he said.
The website also covered environmental credentials of the New Zealand sheep and beef sector, which had a goal of net carbon neutrality by 2050.
“Greenhouse gas emissions from sheep and beef farming have decreased by 30% in absolute terms since 1990, while production levels have remained stable – and during that time the sector more than doubled its export receipts,” McIvor said.
New Zealand is also very efficient compared to other countries. The carbon footprint of sheep and beef production is around half the average figure globally.
“Approximately 93% of land used for sheep and beef production in New Zealand is not suitable for growing food crops because it is rolling or steep hills and almost one quarter of New Zealand’s total native vegetation occurs on sheep and beef farmland,” he said.
“With plenty of natural rainfall in New Zealand, the vast majority of water used in livestock production comes from the sky as opposed to being extracted from surface or ground water sources.”
Beef + Lamb registered nutritionist Fiona Windle said consumers were also looking for reliable sources of information about diet and health.
New Zealand’s red meat sector accounted for nearly 5% of the country’s total employment or around 92,000 people working on-farm and in processing and support services.
It generated $12bn in income per year for New Zealand, and was the country’s second largest merchandise exporter, accounting for just over 16% of New Zealand’s total exports.
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