18 Jul 2012

China's appetite for sheep meat grows

6:34 am on 18 July 2012

Alliance Group says China is emerging as a key market for sheep meat as economic pressures hit sales in more traditional markets.

In the past, China has taken mainly lower-valued sheep meat products such as mutton flaps, which are further processed into products such as kebabs, patties and meat balls.

But a growing middle class in China is also creating a demand for higher value cuts.

Marketing general manager Murray Brown says that is providing some timely diversity for New Zealand meat exporters as the economic down turn erodes demand in Europe, the UK and US.

"What we will see is frozen shipments into China supersede the other biggest market in frozen form, the UK, this year."

Mr Brown says there is also potential to diversify sheep meat sales into markets such as Russia and Brazil.